Have you been to Melville lately?
I spent a few hours exploring my home suburb yesterday, something I haven’t done in a while, and I can barely contain my excitement over all of the cool places that are opening up. Here are my top three:
1) 27Boxes (4th Avenue and 6th Street)
27Boxes, a shopping centre built with recycled shipping containers, is officially open although most of the shops are still under construction. I had a look around 27Boxes for the first time — several stores and cafés are already doing business — and was pleasantly surprised by how cool it is.
I don’t want to say too much about 27Boxes yet; I’ll definitely write about it again in a few weeks once the majority of the businesses are open. In the meantime here are a few photos.
A workman stands outside the nearly finished 27Boxes.
An unfinished space inside the centre.
Sian and her dog Fang. I caught Sian working her ass off hauling rocks and plants around for the indigenous nursery she’s opening at 27Boxes. Fang was helping. I convinced them to pause briefly for a portrait. I can’t wait to go back and see the nursery/garden once it’s finished.
2) Rocomamas (Campus Square Shopping Centre)
Rocomamas is Joburg’s newest burger chain (getting ready to expand into the rest of South Africa) and the city has been buzzing about it for the past several months. I had never been until yesterday, when I had lunch at the newest Rocomamas in Melville’s Campus Square Shopping Centre.
I generally hate Campus Square, a very bland mall, but I’ll be going there more often for burgers like this:
I usually don’t like my burgers with this much sauce. But whatever this sauce was, I liked it.
In addition to serving delicious burgers at reasonable prices (this burger cost R49 and the fries were R12), Rocomamas plays catchy rock music from the 1990s and early 2000s. There aren’t many places in Joburg where you can eat a good burger while listening to Green Day. Best thing to happen at Campus Square, ever.
3) Bean Tree Café (Spar Shopping Centre, Main Road)
The local Spar grocery store — in the Melville shopping centre at Main Road and 4th Avenue — was recently renovated from a regular Spar into a SuperSpar. The owner of the Spar, Adrian Bal, has also opened new a coffee shop, called the Bean Tree, adjoining the Spar.
I know what you’re probably thinking: A coffee shop that’s part of a mega retail chain like Spar is a strange thing for me to write about. But this coffee shop is special for a few reasons:
1) The Bean Tree brightens up this otherwise drab retail strip, and provides a nice Melville community gathering place on Main Road. (We need more places like this apart from the bars and restaurants on 7th Street.)
The Bean Tree, next to Melville Spar. It’s been open for about two weeks and is already doing brisk business.
2) The Bean Tree serves tasty Lavazza coffee; has a nice casual food menu with sandwiches, salads, pizzas, etc.; and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (We need more coffee shops open at night.) There’s no wifi yet but there will be soon.
A Bean Tree cappuccino.
3) A collection of my Melville blog photos are displayed on the wall of the Bean Tree.
Those are my pictures on the far wall, all shot in and around Melville over the last five years.
I think it’s pretty cool that a big company like this hired a local like me to decorate its coffee shop. I’m pretty stoked about it, and so is the Melville Cat.
The interior designer specifically requested a photo of the Melville Cat.
Another one of my favorite pictures on the wall, shot at Fête de la Musique in 2012.
Please go support the Bean Tree and check out my photos.
And by the way, if you too would like to own a 2Summers photo, please be reminded that I am selling a limited-edition print. It was shot just outside Melville in the neighboring suburb of Brixton. I’ve already sold a few and the print run is limited to 10, so don’t delay. Check out the photo and all the details here.
Also, get out and explore Melville.