Fitzies City Cafe has final trading day

PACKED HOUSE: Fitzies City Cafe is preparing to close for the final time, but fans of the cafe don't want to miss their last chance for scones, jam and cream. The cafe will close at 4pm on Friday. Picture: Scott Gelston

PACKED HOUSE: Fitzies City Cafe is preparing to close for the final time, but fans of the cafe don't want to miss their last chance for scones, jam and cream. The cafe will close at 4pm on Friday. Picture: Scott Gelston

As Surfing in the USA plays over the speakers, one of the last deliveries rolls in to Fitzies City Cafe.

After 46 years, staff are preparing to turn off the neon sign one last time. The retro cafe will permanently close at 4pm on Friday. 

Cafe co-owner Rhonda Talbot said there will be a few tears shed. 

“There will be a few Jim Beams and Champagnes, but it won’t be a celebration, more of a wake,” she said. 

Mrs Talbot said it had been a “crazy few weeks” since the announcement of the closure. 

“Past and present customers have been coming in to say their goodbyes, as well as little kids. It’s been unbelievably awesome,” she said.

“Some of the customers that we have had in are kids that aren’t kids anymore. They’re bringing in their own kids and their parents just one last time.”

Mrs Talbot said staff had to “up their game” during the cafe’s final few weeks.

“We just step up a gear when it gets busy. It’s just like driving a car, as you go through the gears you get faster,” she said. 

The cafe’s famous “frog in the ponds” and scones, jam and cream have been in demand since the announcement.

Mrs Talbot said there was no secret recipe for the jelly treats, but the lolly frogs, supplied by Stewy from Statewide Food, were a “must have”, along with the sprinkles.  

When Mrs Talbot broke the news to the staff she told the chef to “wind it up”. 

“But we haven’t been able to … we’ve placed even more orders,” she said.  “The staff were shocked. They’ve been here for so long, they expected it to go on forever. We all did.”

Customers have been lining up for days, but Mrs Talbot said no-one had complained about the lines. 

“We’ve had some very patient people and they’ve all been so understanding. They just want to come here and experience it for the last time,” she said.  

RELATED STORIES:

Iconic Launceston cafe to close

Fitzies City Cafe’s final fling

Final weeks of Fitzies City Cafe 

Some of Fitizies City Cafe’s regular customers

Faces of Fitzies

The quest for hope in a world post Fitzies

Mrs Talbot said she wasn’t sure what would happen to the cafe’s staff, which have 130 years combined experience, after its final trading day. 

“There’s still a lot of work left in us yet, we can still run rings around some of the young ones. But, none of us really know what we’re going to do yet,” she said.

The Launceston icon would never be repeated, Mrs Chilcott said. 

“Even if it was set up somewhere else in Launceston, it would never be the same,” she said. 

“This will be totally missed in Launceston. I don’t think the impact has been realised yet. We’re really feeling for the older people because there is no other place like it in town.

“This is Fitzies, this is the way it was, and is, until tomorrow.”

On Saturday, the team will start to pull apart the historical cafe, before everything in the store is auctioned on August 22.  Mrs Talbot said the customers were the backbone of the cafe.

“It’s all laughs really. We joke with the customers and they joke with us. It’s just been a really good social area,” she said.

“It’s not just a restaurant that serves people really quick and gets them through. We don’t just cater, we care." 

Mrs Talbot said lots of memories had been made through the life-long friendships.

“One man, Lenny his name is, comes in every Friday. His sister bought him food vouchers just to make sure he was looking after himself,” she recalled. 

“He came in and said I can’t find them … We said ‘don’t worry, we’ll give you your money’s worth’. He’d no sooner got through them and he come in and said ‘I found them’, I said ‘don’t think you can use them now Lenny’.”

Mrs Talbot said she couldn’t have asked for more from the cafe’s staff and customers. 

“When we finally walk out of this building, we know we have run a successful business for as many years as we could,” she said. 

“And may the frog in the pond live on forever.”

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop