"I've wanted to open up a cafe for about three or four years," co-owner Julian Bedford tells Concrete Playground. "I was working with some really nice guys at Bawa in Hawthorn and we sort of put our heads together and opened a coffee roastery... the espresso bar [is] the flagship shop for the brand."
Joining Bedford in his endeavor are Kael and Matt Sahely (Bawa, Northcote's Barry, East Melbourne's Square & Compass) along with Jimmy Tjoeng (Malvern's Little Chloe). Both Bawa and Square & Compass now make their coffee with Vacation beans.
Located on the corner of Flinders and Exhibition Street, the cafe doubles as a retail outlet where customers can purchase coffee not just by the cup, but by the bag. It's also somewhere you can go for a high-quality cup without being a qualified expert.
"We're really aiming to be super friendly and approachable about specialty coffee, rather than making it something that's prestigious and unobtainable," says Bedford. "Everyone can have a good coffee. We don't have to talk about it, you can just drink it. But if you do want to talk about it, we're more than happy to show you some different coffees and make sure you get something that you want."
In terms of food, Vacation offers what Bedford calls "home-style sandwiches", with fillings like wagyu pastrami with mustard, zucchini pickle and mayo, and turkey with alfalfa sprouts, avocado, tomato and chilli mayo. Other simple options include poached eggs with avocado, as well as your eternal favourite: Vegemite on toast.
Ultimately though, coffee is the name of the game, with Bedford assuring us they're working with "some of the best equipment you can get."