What’s a retro American-style train carriage diner doing in the middle of the Vietnamese suburb of Cabramatta, asks Sydney cafe guru and social media expert Stewart Dawes. Step-A-Side opened three weeks ago and is doggone yankee right down to the jukebox. The menu, predictably, comprises burgers (starting at $10) and fries, waffles, po boys (shrimp sandwich from Louisiana) , spiders (soda or soft drink with a dollop of ice cream) and hotdogs. That’s my daughter Francesca, pictured below, who helps run the diner.
Cabramatta is colloquially known as Cabra and has the largest Vietnamese community in Australia. Located on the corner of Cabramatta Road and Hume Highway, Step-A-Side Diner is open seven days a week from 11am-10pm and will soon be open for weekend breakfasts, offering suped up waffles and Grinders coffee.
And that brightly coloured thing is a spider. Slurp. A train carriage was moved to the site and then fitted out, with the kitchen installed in the carriage itself. The train seats 70 in booths or on cool bar stools. The train driver seats and controls have been left as is for curious kids to have a play. The overhead hand loops have also been left in place. And for bigger kids there’s a jukebox pumping out old time favourites.
Attention to retro detail is nifty. Vinyl records have been given a new twist as holders for sauces. The walls are also lined with black and white movie star pix from an era that none of us were born in. Well, most of us…
Po boy is fried shrimp slammed into a crusty white baguette made in the New Orleans style, with tomato, tiger sauce (horseradish and aioli) and butter lettuce, then you add chilli sauce to taste. They’re also available with chorizo and jalapeno peppers. Priced from $12.50. Send me a pic, Dawes @sydneycafes says on Twitter. So I do. Yummy RT, he tweets back.
The waffles usually don’t look like this one (pictured below) but an over-enthusiastic customer wanted one with EVERYTHING so that’s exactly what he got.
Step-A-Side Diner, corner of Cabramatta Road and Hume Highway, Cabramatta, in Western Sydney. Open seven days a week. Call: 0449977648 for more details. The diner can be hired out for birthday parties.