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James the First Settles in Suburbia

AFTER YEARS OF FAITHFUL SERVICE AS A HOLIDAY CAMPER, WELL-TRAVELLED TRAILER 'JAMES THE FIRST' HAS FOUND A FOREVER HOME. TUCKED IN AN INDUSTRIAL WAREHOUSE AT COCONUT GROVE, THE TRAILER IS THE BEATING HEART OF THE GROVE’S NEWEST FOODIE OFFERING, RUBY G’S CANTEEN & BAKERY. 

By Tierney White

Ruby G’s Canteen sprung to fame earlier this year as the new eatery at the Darwin Bowlo with their Suckling Pig Sundays and exciting menu – but owners Mel and Shane always had big plans for their beloved trailer, James the First, after they bought it from their dear friend James years ago. 

Originally from South Australia, the owners quit their jobs (both qualified chefs), rented out their home, packed up their two young children and family dog, and hit the road on a quest for a new life in Cairns. After visiting Ayers Rock, they had a change of heart and bee-lined for Darwin. The family then spent six weeks living in the trailer before finding jobs and a place to live. Suffice to say, James the First holds a special place in their hearts. 

“We would borrow the trailer from our friend James and went on a few family holidays. When he wanted to sell it, we jumped at the chance – it ended up being our home for a while but we always knew we wanted to convert it into a food truck. When James passed away, we named it after him – we kept the panel of stickers from his travels so it has a lot of sentimental value to us,” Mel said. 

The warehouse is set up with industrial decor, vintage lights and bright pops of colourful furnishings. If you’d like to sip on your latte and devour your peanut butter tart outside, milk crates and wooden tables are plotted at the entrance. The baking machinery is located upstairs – this is where the magic happens. 

“Our family has always had an obsession with bakeries. I’m Italian, so bread has always been a big thing in our family – my parents would never have day old bread – it always had to be fresh. Our kids are bakery-mad too. Upstairs is where we create our pastries and breads including pies, pasties, kranskys and our specialty – donuts,” Shane explained. 

Up for grabs is a large range of baked goods and specialty coffee from Dawn Patrol in SA. But big and exciting things are in the pipeline for Ruby G’s Canteen & Bakery. 

“We hope to have our produce on display so people can see what goes into their food. We source as much produce as possible locally at the local markets and stretch the ingredients to the max to minimise waste. We’d also one day love to stock great Aussie produce like cheese, olives and olive oil,” Shane added. 

Having been raised on trips to food markets throughout their lives, market culture is important to the pair. 

“When my friends would go to town on a Friday night, I’d be at the Adelaide Central Markets with my Dad. The seed to own a food truck was firmly planted when I worked at a friend’s trailer in SA. I just can’t get enough of markets – I love them!” Mel said. 

Mel and Shane live by the motto “everyday’s a school day.” For this duo, learning, developing and growing with their experiences has helped them achieve their food truck dream. 

So if you’re up for a great cup of Joe, or have a hankering for a baked lemon tart, head to the Grove and pay James the First a visit at Ruby G’s Canteen & Bakery. 

Mon-Fri, 6am-2pm | Sat, 7am-1pm | Dickward Drive, Coconut Grove | rubygscanteen@gmail.com | facebook.com/rubygscanteendarwinbowlsclub | instagram.com/rubygscanteen

 

CALLING ALL GRAFF AND STREET ARTISTS! 

Ruby G’s are keen to deck their warehouse floor out with some street art. Want to be involved? Send some examples of your work to rubygscanteen@gmail.com 

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