A lot of cafes will talk about being family run, but for S.A.L.T., it’s actually in the name. With three locations, in Dural, Auburn and now Penrith, the café is the combination of Stacy, Angela, Leo and Tahki Saul, whose first initials conveniently spell out the eponymous kitchen staple.
Leo, the father, began the family’s entry into the hospitality after leaving his job as a teacher, and opened one of the first cafes inside of a shopping centre, in Castle Hill. A few years and a couple of locations later, the family opened a site in Dural, and renamed to S.A.L.T..
Since then, family is not only in the name, but family is imbued into the dishes. Home favourites make their way onto the menus at each of the establishments. Brother Stacy is professionally trained as a chef and although mum Angela is an optometrist, as Tahki says, “she's just Greek so she just knows how to put stuff together and make it taste good.” Decisions are split between the family, but the final say comes down to Tahki, who oversees day to day operations, and Leo, who are co-owners of the business.
This model may not be possible for all but it’s definitely worked for the Saul family who have been impressing the Dural locals, and catching the eye of one in particular, Gerry Harvey and Katie Page, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Harvey Norman Holdings, respectively. As Tahki explained to Harvey and Page, people don’t go to a furniture store to buy coffee, “but if they're there and they're buying coffee it might as well be the best coffee they're going to get.” With this pitch, the two families decided to collaborate, and now S.A.L.T. has been able to open at two Harvey Norman sites, in Auburn and Penrith, and are in the process of increasing that number by the time Boxing Day sales roll around.
Being involved with a large corporation such as Harvey Norman doesn’t mean that each S.AL.T. café is a cookie cutter version of the first. Dural retains its links to local growers in the area, while in Auburn, S.A.L.T. has partnered with the local Lebanese community to source sweets and pastries. What does tie all of the establishments together is quality coffee, sourced from Black Drum Roasters.
As Tahki notes, the quality of coffee at these locations was sub-par prior to the arrival of S.A.L.T., and locals were charged highly for it. In light of this, Black Drum Roasters coffee has been embraced by those that Tahki speaks with, “what I notice is I talk to people about the coffee and they're just saying things like it's smoother, it's sweetest almost, it's not too bitter.”
At Auburn and Penrith S.A.L.T. offers house made baked goods and simple brekkie options like a bacon and egg roll on a milk bun with spiced mayo. For lunch sourdough sandwiches and wraps are complemented with household recipes for lasagne and beef or vegetable pies. In Dural the menu expands with the addition of pancakes and omelettes for breakfast and burgers and salads with locally sourced veg for lunch.
For a café that runs on family goodness, the Sauls have you sorted with S.A.L.T..