Tweed’s best cafe is a story of long-term family success
Kingscliff’s cafe scene has evolved a lot in the decades since Choux Box Cafe opened its doors in 1993.
The seaside town’s first eatery with footpath dining, the business offered something new at the time.
All these years later, under the same family ownership, it is continuing to prove a heavyweight in the cafe world.
Choux Box has taken out the top spot in News Corp’s search for the best cafe in the Tweed Shire, as voted by our readers.
“It’s very exciting,” manager Cenza Freeburn said.
“There’s so many types of cafes now and lots of competition so we’re thrilled.”
Kingscliff has changed plenty in those 27 years and Choux Box has grown with the town, taking over the next door shop to expand several years ago.
“The whole town’s changed, the cafe’s had to evolve with that,” fellow manager Tony Clarke said.
“We’ve doubled in size.”
Mr Clarke has long been a part of the Choux Box family; he started working there as a 16-year-old, 20 years ago.
Owner Brett Freeburn welcomed the recognition but said looking after their staff and connecting with their customers was a bigger priority.
“You don’t work for accolades, you work to give our staff a regular income,” he said.
“We support a lot of families; we have 38 staff.”
Their expansion a few years ago made the indoor space one where connectivity is central.
“The sense of connection’s the cornerstone of the business,” he said.
“The business has grown organically.
“When I first got here there were three employees and we used to go through three kilos of coffee a week.”
While they’re a clear Kingscliff success story, Choux Box wasn’t immune to the challenges 2020 and COVID-19 brought.
Ms Freeburn said the most “heartbreaking” thing about this time was letting go of beloved staff.
“That was the hardest thing of all,” she said.
While some COVID restrictions are still in place, the cafe is pretty well back to its usual bustling self.