Racing to a better cafe

Riverside Coffee and Juice Bar manager Janine French and employee Lisa Hutchins enjoying a coffee
Riverside Coffee and Juice Bar manager Janine French and employee Lisa Hutchins enjoying a coffee

A $49,610 grant from the NSW Government will be used to upgrade facilities at the Tumut Racecourse.

The funding will be used to expand and modernise the Racecourse’s Riverside Coffee and Juice Bar.

Money has been allocated to enable the café’s outdoor area to be enclosed, meaning customers will be comfortable in all weather conditions. A commercial dishwasher and oven will also be installed, and other upgrades will be undertaken as necessary.

The Riverside Coffee and Juice Bar has grown from humble beginnings, starting life as a coffee van run by Michelle Rossiter to keep the Racecourse’s patrons awake. It now features indoor and outdoor seating, sells a range of local produce, and serves daily food specials, fresh pressed juices, smoothies, frappes, and – of course – coffee.

“It’s a great asset,” Wagga MP Daryl Maguire said.

In its first incarnation in 2012 the café was only open in summer. It is now open year-round and has expanded into hosting functions. The earmarked funding will also enable it to add catering to its repertoire.

“It’s the spot in Tumut, without a doubt,” Chairman of Trustees for the Tumut Racecourse Reserve Trust Peter Linnegar said. “As a community facility it’s become invaluable. The refurbishments will enhance the whole area for the use of the community.”

Mr Linnegar said the Racecourse facilities have filled a necessary gap for local activities. As well as being used for weddings, Christmas parties and other functions, they also host the Farmers Markets every Friday from October to March.

“That’s something the town didn’t have before; ready-made,” Mr Linnegar said.

The funding for the Racecourse is part of $630,000 set aside for the Wagga Wagga electorate by the Public Reserve Management Fund. Recipients include the City of Wagga Wagga, Lockhart, and the Tumut region, including projects in Tumut, Adelong, and Batlow.