Nimbin business returned and transformed like Phoenix Rising

WHEN Nimbin retailer David Hyett was phoned just after 2am on August 13 with word that his Cullen St business Bringabong was burning, he went back to sleep, woke again at 6am and started making plans for Phoenix Rising Cafe.

Those plans become a reality on Saturday when the Bush Theatre became the home of the new look cafe, after it had been languishing by the creek for 10 years.

Scores of people re-energised the now multi-use space.

ADDING COLOUR: Louise Grenfell and David Hyett celebrate the opening of Phoenix Rising Cafe on Saturday.
ADDING COLOUR: Louise Grenfell and David Hyett celebrate the opening of Phoenix Rising Cafe on Saturday. Melissa Gulbin

Many of those went to the opening also attended the midday smoke-in protest on Cullen St, a protest against what drug reform activists described as recent "aggressive" police raids.

But the music, food and vibe on offer at The Phoenix Rising Cafe were free from any political tension.

"There is such a buzz and we are overwhelmed by the community support and spirit," Mr Hyett said.

"We've been told that if anyone can make this space viable again it's us," he said.

According to Mr Hyett, the Bush Theatre owner Sandy Wise was delighted by the reincarnation of the space which has proven challenging for start-ups in the past decade.

The speed at which the Bush Theatre had been renovated was due to the immense energy of his partner Louise Grenfell, he said.

"She's a firecracker," said Mr Hyett.

Ms Grenfell won a Northern NSW Football Volunteer of the Month award in August for her services in turning around the canteen at Nimbin Headers Football Club.

The same energy had been used to quickly renovate the old Bush Theatre which required a complete rewiring and kitchen redesign.

"Like a lot of business owners in Nimbin we are creative people and our business is our creative outlet," said Mr Hyett.

Mr Hyett said with signature dishes which include paleo super smoothies, the cafe was about educating people and proving food could be natural and tasty.

The Bringabong shop has also moved to the site.

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