PIT STOP: Doug Rowan stands outside the 24-hour Parkside Cafe in Woodburn that he's owned and run for 18 years.
PIT STOP: Doug Rowan stands outside the 24-hour Parkside Cafe in Woodburn that he's owned and run for 18 years. Samantha Elley

Car chases and ducks, all in a day's work at cafe

ANYONE who has travelled the Pacific Hwy between Sydney and Brisbane would know Parkside Cafe at Woodburn.

 

 

It has been in the same spot since 1932 when it was a milk bar, according to owner Doug Rowan.

Mr Rowan recently celebrated 18 years of owning and running the iconic cafe.

"When I bought it, the cafe had just been three weeks as a 24 hour business," he said.

"So it has stayed the same."

 

ICONIC STOP: Doug Rowan with employee Rebecca McDonald at the Parkside Cafe in Woodburn.
ICONIC STOP: Doug Rowan with employee Rebecca McDonald at the Parkside Cafe in Woodburn. Samantha Elley

Mr Rowan added a gift shop next door, which sells a variety of lollies, postcards, gifts and tobacco.

He has met many people from across the globe.

"I have a family of five from the United States who are regulars. They fly into Sydney every year, drive up and stay on the Gold Coast and fly out of Brisbane."

Being opened all day, every day means Mr Rowan has seen plenty of memorable moments.

"One night a stolen car from Coffs Harbour was being chased by police and (four men) stopped and got out of the car and jumped our fence, ending up in our backyard."

"I could see one of them hiding near where my neighbour came out to see what was going on.

"I told her everything was fine and to go back inside, then I went and told the police where he was."

 

Doug Rowan sits in his café where he recently bought new seating and tables.
Doug Rowan sits in his café where he recently bought new seating and tables. Samantha Elley

One fond memory was of a mother duck and her ducklings coming from the river, across a very busy highway and straight into the cafe.

"We got some bread rolls and managed to get them out into the backyard and safely to the paddock."

The cafe is at its busiest between October and the end of March, according to Mr Rowan.

"Usually the week before school holidays I start stocking up but it's been even busier lately, where I am doing a double trade."

With the addition of the bypass being built Mr Rowan said he may retire.

 

Doug Rowan with some of his product line in the Parkside Café that's he now owned for 18 years.
Doug Rowan with some of his product line in the Parkside Café that's he now owned for 18 years. Samantha Elley

"I've bought the caravan but if it means I just reduce the hours of the cafe, I may just do that."

"I'm not ready to retire just yet."



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