Occupying a bend in the road in Ebenezer, north of Windsor, is the converted pit stop Tractor 828. What was once a petrol station and not much else, the community facility has been turned into a fine dining, gourmet café by Mark Fiorentino and his wife, Sharon.
Describing the history of the venue, Mark highlighted the many different guises this humble road-side stop has gone through.
“It was a fuel stop, takeaway/video hire/cigarette shop in the middle of nowhere, so three years ago the landlord decided to renovate this and my wife and I were fortunate enough at the time to come across it at the right time.”
Around here, in this bend of the Hawkesbury, things don’t change too quickly, so the fuel offerings that the locals know of this place have continued. Tractor 828 remains a functioning petrol station, albeit with a few extras.
“The locals need it for their lawnmowers, motorbikes, tractors or their utes and trucks, so we can't get rid of the fuel,” noted Mark.
But, in addition to this, Tractor 828 is serving up what is the modern-day version of fuel, Black Drum Roasters coffee and a modern cafe menu. Along with this is a simple morning breakfast menu and an expansive daily café lunch menu.
Described by Mark, this combination of the classics and inventive takes on local produce keeps everyone coming back.
“In the morning we have a tradie’s menu and we also have a core café menu, and then you've got your basic takeaway menu which is mainly takeaway coffees and takeaway bacon and egg rolls.”
Becoming an institution in itself, on the weekends Tractor 828 attracts all manner of bicycle, car and motorbike clubs who enjoy the open roads of the Hawkesbury region and its softly undulating terrain.
Keeping things grounded, Mark endeavors to offer up what the local area is known for, fresh veggies and small goods.
“We work with local produce, [and] local farmers in the area,” said Mark. In this case, however, this isn’t just bluster. The local region boasts some of the Sydney basin’s finest market gardens, and famous chefs from the CBD call in here to sample the literally farm to table pedigree of this unassuming venue.
Keeping this in mind, each day at Tractor 828 is never the same, and the menu follows the seasonal availability of the freshest produce.
“We change up our menu every three months, you have to change it seasonally” stated Mark.
Coming from a background of multiple award winning cafes, Mark was not going to let anything slip at Tractor 828. Despite the corrugated iron and wood interior, this is a sophisticated operation with a chef allowed full reign to experiment behind the pass. Recently, this has been recognised in the local press, as Tractor 828 has been awarded the best small business in the Hawkesbury for 2018.
To make a day of it, stop in on one of Tractor 828’s Friday night dinners. Be careful though, they book out fast, so make sure you are all over the details before promising anything.
828 Sackville Road, Ebenezer
Mon – Fri, 6am – 4.30pm
Sat – Sun, 7am – 4.30pm