Even before I had kids, I was a regular customer at Happy River Cafe. My husband and I loved taking a stroll or a ride on a Sunday from Footscray Park along the river to the cafe. It is the perfect cafe to retreat to on the weekend; set up with some newspapers, stretch out and enjoy watching all the little ones playing out the front. Happy River is situated on Moreland Street adjacent to the Footscray Community Arts Centre. It is on one end of the old gallery space in a beautiful and historic bluestone building. It is a popular destination for locals, given its quiet spot, proximity to fantastic art, the river ferry and gardens.
My son is a very active 9 month old and keeping him put in a highchair for longer than 15 minutes can be a challenge. Thankfully, Happy River serve you food right to your own picnic mat! My son can play on the grass, eat leaves and crawl up and visit us for a cheeky swipe at our smoothies. We get to stretch out and read the paper without having to worry about what new piece of food he has dropped on the floor.
The cafe provides plenty of toys, trikes, cars, books and colouring books to keep kids of all ages happy. My son always meets new friends while bonding over a coveted toy. The menu is fairly simple (but yummy) breakfast and lunch fare and there is a separate kids’ menu. My partner can’t go past the stewed fruit and muesli.
When we were there last Saturday, there was a big group of 11 year olds celebrating a birthday. The outdoor space is large enough to accommodate such groups without impacting the other customers. It is no surprise that it is a popular venue for playgroups. Hounds are also kept happy with water troughs and grass to spread out on.
We always leave Happy River Cafe feeling relaxed, sun-soaked and full!
If you go, leave plenty of time to explore the Footscray Community Arts Centre precinct, gardens and the riverfront.
Phone: 9689 3244