Steve and Julianne Krieg from La Baracca in Lismore.
Steve and Julianne Krieg from La Baracca in Lismore.

5 kids, 2 cafes, 27 staff: Busy life for owners of best cafe

For 13 years, Steve and Julianne Krieg have been working hard to offer delicious coffee and food at their cafe, La Baracca Espresso Bar and Trattoria.

"It's either impressive or crazy," Mrs Krieg said.

"We're a family owned business and we have very high standards in our staff and our coffee and food."

It's probably the reason La Baracca was voted by Northern Star readers as the best cafe in Lismore as part of Matt Preston's Delicious Local campaign.

The Kriegs also own Ristretto in Molesworth Street, and over the years all five of their children have helped out at the cafes.

"It's really important to me to have high quality, to be consistent, and to show our kids what's important and to have a good work ethic," she said.

"All three of our youngest children worked here over the holidays, and our oldest son as well.

"I think our customers love that we're a family business; they love to come in for a chat."

It's a busy life for the Kriegs, who juggle the two cafes with 27 staff, five kids and a driving school.

And they're still recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2017 flood.

"During Covid we had to change our business plan, play up our strengths," Mrs Krieg said.

"We have five chefs on visas, so they weren't eligible for any government assistance, so we had to think of ways to make money so we could pay them."

But they made it work, because the Kriegs are passionate believers in the value of their staff.

"I definitely think our staff is our biggest asset," Mrs Krieg said.

"I do have a really high standard when it comes to employing people for our cafes.

"It's called hospitality for a reason you need to be hospitable.

"We also support local producers and have a really good quality coffee in Botero from Maclean."

Matt Preston said the search for the Northern Rivers' best cafe was just the start of the Delicious Local push to "help drive a food-led rebound from the effects of Covid".

"It's clear from the vast number of nominations and votes we saw come in that local communities are rallying around their favourite eateries; supporting those food businesses who have done it tough over the past 12 months," he said.

"And this is just the beginning.

"Our local cafe winners are soon to appear in a statewide battle of the postcodes where the cream will rise to the top - as it always does!

"Don't forget to have your say by checking out your state finalists and voting for your favourite."

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