MJs Retro Cafe Benaraby owners Marty Hayden and Julie Kirby inside their rock and roll themed premises full of memories of yesteryear.
MJs Retro Cafe Benaraby owners Marty Hayden and Julie Kirby inside their rock and roll themed premises full of memories of yesteryear.

Step into the swinging 70s at this retro cafe

WALKING into MJ's Retro Cafe at Benaraby is like taking a step back in time to the 1970s.

The smell of the delicious food hits you, then the aroma of the coffee, before you're swept away by the nostalgia on display.

"People have said to us it's just like walking into Nanna's house," owner Julie Kirby said.

Inspired by Lilac Lillies cafe at Tannum Sands, Julie and her partner Marty Hayden said they bought the shop on the Bruce Highway in 2014, initially to display and sell their amazing collection of antiques, bric-a-brac and collectables.

From records, to rock and roll memorabilia, crystal, kitchen ware, old pictures, furniture, fuel bowsers, tobacco tins, tools, tea sets, Avon bottles, telephones, model cars and unique uranium glass, the couple have an impressive, vast collection from yesteryear.

"We wanted a really old building for our collectables, but we realised being on the highway we had to do food too," Julie said.

"Around a month ago someone rang into the local radio station and apparently they say we've got the best burgers in Gladstone, since then it's been quite busy."

 

MJs Retro Cafe Benaraby owners Marty Hayden and Julie Kirby inside their rock and roll themed premises full of memories of yesteryear.
MJs Retro Cafe Benaraby owners Marty Hayden and Julie Kirby inside their rock and roll themed premises full of memories of yesteryear.

 

For the huge fans of the Rockabilly scene and members of the Gladstone Rock and Roll Club, having the 50s, 60s and 70s Rock and Roll theme was an obvious choice.

"I love old stuff, preserving old stuff and putting it on display for people to get a lot of pleasure out of," Julie said.

"We had a big collection and we thought we would display it and if someone buys stuff that's good. It's grown from there.

The couple love meeting their customers and seeing their reactions.

"You can get the most grumpy person come in, and after they look around they're smiling like a Cheshire cat and I say to them, 'did you find any memories'," Marty said.

"We've had travellers from all around the world, German, English, French, Chinese, Japanese and Americans," Julie said.

"We had a mink coat that we sold to an Australian lady who married an American chap which we got off a Russian lady from Agnes Water, so it had done a fair few k's around the world," Marty said.

"We've had professional antique collectors or pickers come in and we just had a woman drive from Brisbane to buy a chair because it suited her house."

The item most people ask for, and are hard to get, are wood stoves.

"We've sold three or four over the years and so many people ask about them because they're had to get...we've got our own one but we won't put that in the shop and sell it," Julie said.

When it comes to food, the couple said they won't skimp on anything, on principle.

"We get the best mince we can and make all our beef rissoles for our hamburgers using the freshest ingredients to our own secret recipe," Marty said.

"We get the biggest, freshest buns we can for our burgers, just like they were in the 70s," Julie said.

"We want people to enjoy their food and have a browse and maybe buy something and say gee that was delicious."



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