Maples Cafe occupies a prime corner site on Paisley Street, near Nicholson Street mall, and it is a well-known feature of the Footscray streetscape.
The building used to be the home of the Maples Furniture Warehouse, a furniture brand that once owned twenty-six stores in Victoria, Tasmania, and New South Wales. The building is one of the few original three-story buildings remaining in central Footscray.
Since 2012 a cafe has operated from the same location.
At any time of day, Maples Cafe is a constant hive of activity. People of all ages and cultures order food and coffee and gather on the bench seats or the pavement tables, chatting and laughing in a babble of different languages.
The bustling scene epitomises the cultural melting pot that is Melbourne’s west.
The current owner, Ivan Nguyen, left Vietnam in 2013 and moved to Melbourne to complete his studies. After he received his diploma, he decided to stay and look for opportunities to run his own business. He took over Maples Cafe in 2019.
“I think many people enjoy coming to Maples because of our Genovese coffee,” smiles Ivan. “Our barista remembers everyone! Ninety per cent of the time she can recall what you ordered so you don’t even have to tell her what you want.”
The food menu covers cafe classics at an affordable price point. Ivan recommends his favourite fish and chips, which is also their best-selling dish because it’s hard to find fish and chips in central Footscray. The fish and chips are also served with a special salad accompanied by Ivan’s secret dressing recipe.