The Landing Cafe is officially Mount Barker’s new hangout after months of setbacks • Glam Adelaide


With lush lawns that creep to the edge of the lake set in a family-friendly community at the foot of the Adelaide Hills, the space almost screams for use as a community space. A coffee maybe? And local Mount Barker resident Ryan Philcox agreed.

Midway through last year, Ryan took the plunge and started working on building what he calls a cafe, but it’s so much more than that. Landing in East Village officially opened in September, but it hasn’t all been smooth sailing, and Ryan’s journey to open his space is one that would have sent most people packing their bags.

Given an opening date, Ryan hired staff and was ready to go before being told on handover day that the site would not be finished for another month. Unwilling to let their newly appointed team down, the cafe was only open for weekend service and only offered the essentials – tea, coffee and pastries. Without a kitchen, anything more was out of the question.

Things continued to go wrong from Ryan with huge construction delays meaning there was no electricity or gas to run the business and this resulted in a heavy reliance on generators. Ryan went through nine generators in six months.

“The generators keep breaking down,” Ryan explains. “Every time one of them died, we would lose all our stock and have to start over, so instead of putting more money into building, I was just trying to recover what was lost.”

Fortunately, the Mount Barker community has stepped up, as they do, to support The Landing Café which shows up every day for coffees and goodies.

“The community support has been amazing,” says Ryan.

“That’s why I chose to start a business here. Mount Barker and The Hills is a fantastic place and I can’t thank everyone enough.”

And while the support was welcome, Ryan wanted to offer more. He wanted to give the community the full experience he envisioned.

“We were known as the café without electricity. It was almost a running joke about what was wrong today and it’s not the legacy we wanted to leave or how we wanted to be known.

Six months later, The Landing Café is finally working as it should.

“Mastering all of this and surviving the tough times is what keeps us going. We’ve been able to overcome not only the normal adversities that come with starting a business, but also Covid and all that.

Celebrating with a relaunch event last week, The Landing Café is a fully licensed venue sitting on a large open space that’s perfect for families. The outdoor lawn is fully fenced so mom and dad can relax with a coffee (or wine) knowing their little ones are safe.

And although the hospitality industry is competitive by nature, Ryan believes there is room for everyone.

“Mount Barker has amazing options for cafes, so we try to identify where we can fit in rather than compete with them. We want to compliment the community rather than compete with it.

Now let’s move on to food. The cafe is truly a showcase for local produce, with Ryan ensuring that many products used in the kitchen are sourced from local producers and suppliers.

Brunch, burgers and bowls are their general motto and Ryan assures me there is something for everyone with the whole menu being gluten free and more than enough vegan options to satisfy.

“We try to accommodate as many dietary requirements as possible,” he says. “People are more aware of what they’re consuming these days – where it comes from, how it comes from and the health benefits and so it’s our job to address that.”

A specially prepared toastie menu is also available, created by local legend Eli. Eli’s story is one of hope and perseverance after nearly losing his life in a car accident. Unfortunately, road safety is something that has affected most people living in a rural area, especially one with roads like hills, and Ryan and Eli join forces to raise awareness. Fundraising and exhibition for The Get Home Safe Foundation works directly through The Landing Café, with Ryan and Eli actively helping bring like-minded people from CFS volunteers to local MPs to create the committee.

Open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. Le Débarquement is the perfect place morning, noon or evening (on weekends) with reservations appreciated.

For more information, check out the website or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

The Landing Café in East Village is located at 1 Aston Parade, Mount Barker 5251

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