A 1970s fuel depot could soon become Ballarat’s newest culinary attraction after an application was lodged with the City of Ballarat to transform the Grant Street site into a cafe.
For years the prominent former service station on the corner of Barkly and Grant streets has sat dormant, despite steady growth in real estate demand within Golden Point.
Most recently the block functioned as a nursery, however the site hasn’t received any major upgrades since its time as a Mobil petrol station.
Locals Mick Staley and Sam Fraser are now hoping to turn around the fortunes of the bland block, along with the help of their children.
The family were encouraged to transform the derelict fuel stop into an eatery by several successful suburban ventures to the north of the CBD in suburbs like Soldiers Hill and Ballarat North.
“The community’s developed over time and the demographic seems to be changing,” Mick Staley said of the neighbourhood in Ballarat’s inner east. “There’s a younger feel too but there’s a split between young people and families.
“The idea of this is if we provide a place where people can come and feel connected and get to meet each other then that will help to make a better community.”
if we provide a place where people can come and feel connected and get to meet each other then that will help to make a better community.Mick Staley
If given the green light, the existing building would be transformed into an open dining space, equipped with a small kitchen and bar. A liquor license is in the pipeline, while outdoor dining will spill out onto the block for the warmer months.
“It’s rough and it’s tough but it’s got a charm to it, and people are sort of warming to that,” Mr Staley said of the unconventional cafe site. “You don’t have to pour money into it and get a really fine finish, it can still be true to its roots.”
The iconic rotunda on the corner of the site would remain in place, adorned with the cafe’s fitting name, Drive.
While both Mr Staley and Ms Fraser have made their living in small business, children Jarrah and Ruby have hospitality experience in Ballarat and Melbourne.
The family are hoping to have renovations completed at 227 Grant Street in time for a spring opening, subject to planning approval.