Who We Are
The Marino Rocks Café is an Adelaide icon. The community has pulled together to buy it, save it from developers, and turned it into a community owned café. The Community Café is a professionally run café restaurant, focused on local produce and sustainability. The venue showcases local art and music; and house a small general store including day-to-day essentials and even some luxuries by local makers.
The building has been revitalised in a manner that preserves its heritage while uplifting the aesthetic and increasing accessibility, amenity and comfort for indoor and outdoor diners, parents, dog owners, walkers, fishermen and anyone who just wants to enjoy a fabulous wine whilst watching the sunset over the ocean.
The project is working closely with the Marino Community Hall and other local initiatives to ensure complimentary offerings to enhance our engaged community.
Our Marino Rocks Community Cooperative ownership model includes inclusion and equity mechanisms to ensure the café builds the wealth of all community members who want to take part in it, not just those with capital to spare, you can learn more about that here.
The Marino Rocks Social Café Restaurant is wheelchair friendly and there is easy access to the restaurant from the carpark.
- The Marino Rocks Café first opened its doors in 1961 under the management of Mr Bert Fooks and Mrs Rita Fooks. Bert Fooks was a local fisherman, as well as an expert at laying terrazzo floors. You can enjoy his beautiful work on the ground floor of the café. Rita Fooks managed the café and sold the fish caught by her husband. She served it in small boxes with air holes pierced into the lids to keep the batter crispy.
- In 1993 Mr Tekin Sabuncu and Mrs Gulten Sabuncu purchased the building and renovated it in October 1999 to resemble a Mediterranean style building that it is today.
- In 2018 Tekin and Gulten Sabuncu sold the building and leased it back. They continued operating the business until 30 March 2022 when the Marino Rocks Community Cooperative purchased the business.
- On 1 April 2022 the building and business was once again under new management by the Marino Rocks Community Cooperative. The dream of having a café restaurant owned and run by the community was now in place. The Marino Rocks Social is what the Cooperative decided to name the Café Restaurant. Renovations commenced for a cosmetic makeover such as changing the signage, logo and new paint colours added to the walls. The brand colours were created from inspiration from the Terrazzo Floor.
- The new Marino Rocks Social café restaurant launched on 22 April 2022.
In 2030 the Marino community is benefiting from the community run Marino Rocks Social cafe in many ways.
The cafe has a delicious menu which takes advantage of fresh produce that is sourced locally from sustainable suppliers, the Marino Community Garden and the cafes own plants. Many indigenous ingredients are also incorporated into the food. As well as the seasonally changing menu there are regular theme nights such as pizza, Mexican & Tapas and also Italian nights. These are often combined with other activities and performance including movies, poetry, comedy and live music.
The cafe also offers the community great quality and affordable daytime dining with some of the best coffee available along the beachfront. For those who prefer something other than coffee there is an extensive wine list with offerings from all over SA, a creative cocktail list and a small onsite brewery and distillery. The staff are knowledgeable, friendly and professional.
Customers can choose to eat inside and take advantage of the views through the ceiling to floor windows or feel the warm summer breeze outside on the deck which is fully enclosed and heated during the cooler months. There is also a dedicated children’s area and a lounge area with charging ports that is popular with teenagers. Outdoor picnic style dining either as a takeaway option for the beach or to eat near the secure playground is a favourite for locals and visitors during Summer and Spring. Beachgoers, kayakers and dog walkers frequent the takeaway window for their early morning coffees and evening fish and chips.
A mixture of local, aboriginal and historical art and pictures decorate the walls inside the cafe and provide a great talking point for diners. Although it has been through extensive renovations the seaside/fisherman feel still remains along with the iconic terrazzo floor.
The small selection of grocery items for sale has been a great convenience for locals and walkers along the beachfront with newspapers, coffee and milk all being top sellers on a Sunday morning. It has also been fantastic to access some of the great ingredients used in the cafe. Members of both the local and wider community love having access to the grow free cart where they are able to leave and take excess produce from each others gardens. A development from the cart has also been the popular monthly local makers and growers market.
New bicycle and scooter racks have been built to accommodate the growing number of cyclists and scooters accessing the paved beachfront pathway from both north and south. A charging station is also available for electric vehicles.
Not only a great restaurant the cafe has become a place for people to meet and connect with their community through the opportunities to teach and learn skills such as knitting, preserving, gardening and cooking. Customers are also directed to the fantastic classes run at the Marino community hall. Young people looking to gain skills in the hospitality industry are also encouraged to engage in work experience which often leads to more formal training and paid work.
The governance runs smoothly through the elected committee with all members encouraged to attend the AGM each year. A recent development has been the youth committee who are providing some amazing ideas that will ensure the cafe remains inclusive and relevant to all.
Some future developments include a local cookbook with favourite recipes from the cafe as well as recipes contributed from patrons and members of the community. All proceeds from sales will be filtered back into community projects and groups along with the regular donations made by the co-op at the end of each financial year. Another exciting development for the coming summer months is the opening of a hire trailer equipped with kayaks and snorkelling equipment.
Ten years ago it was hard to imagine such a vibrant meeting place and now it is almost impossible to imagine Marino without the Marino Rocks community cafe.