HOWLONG woman Tracey Dutton always hoped someone would do something with the old general store in town.
She said the 100-year-old building in the main street was crying out for a new lease of life.
“I’ve lived in Howlong for 31 years and spent the past 10 years waiting for somebody to do something with it,” she said.
“When it didn’t happen I thought I’d just have to do something with it myself.”
Together with Dale Booth, Ms Dutton opened ½ Acre Coffee Lounge & Nursery just before Christmas.
She said Mr Booth did most of the renovation work during the 30-month project.
“The old floor boards from down the back are now up the front of the shop; we’ve recycled and reclaimed almost everything,” she said.
“It’s the exact kind of place I like to go to when I go out.”
Mr Booth said the business name referred to the almost ½-acre block, which had a vegetable garden and plant nursery dotted with upcycled pieces.
Both avid collectors of vintage wares, he said Ms Dutton was the green thumb.
“Tracey does all of the planting,” he said.
What's your favourite dish, Dale?
We’re famous for our egg and bacon rolls; two eggs, plenty of bacon, relish and the works.
What are the staples in your recipes?
Fresh herbs from the garden and meat from next door at Howlong Butchers.
What's the biggest product discovery you have made in cooking?
Honeybird Coffee from Mount Beauty.
What's your secret vice?
Wild Turkey bourbon whiskey
What is your recipe standby?
Every day it’s something different. We’ve got extra tomatoes now so they’re in our vegetable lasagne and quiches. We also make our own pies like pulled pork and cranberry.
What is your most unforgettable meal and where?
We haven’t had much time to eat out since we opened ½ Acre. I learnt to cook in camp ovens; any camp food is a good meal. You’re usually starving hungry when you’re camping too!
What's your favourite cooking utensil?
What's in your kitchen toolkit?
I don’t really go for gadgets.
What did you have for dinner last night?
What are you drinking?
½ Acre Coffee Lounge & Nursery,
52 Hawkins Street, Howlong
Phone: 02) 6026 8572
Open daily 7am to 5pm (closed Mondays).