Jackson Dodds is a fabulous little cafe on the corner of Gilbert Rd and Union Street in Preston. It’s right at the end of the number 11 tram line and has been in the area since 2010. It’s not new but it’s definitely a favourite among the locals, having been one the of first decent cafes to open on the northern side of Bell Street.
The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed during the week and busier but still attentive and efficient on the weekends. The owner is hands on and you’ll see him greeting people, giving out menus, taking orders, making coffee and cleaning up, all whilst engaging in humorous banter with the customers and kids. During the week there’s local mothers groups with their kids, sitting at the communal bench table; workers having coffee meetings and students on laptops enjoying the welcoming and eclectic space. On weekends lots of families get in early with their kids, and they are out the door by the time the brunch crowd start to file in to select from the all day breakfast menu.
We’ve visited many times and there’s always great coffee and a selection of muffins and cupcakes by the side entrance. The breakfast dishes we’ve tried include the Fruit toast, Jacks Breakfast, Great Northern, Scrambled Feta and Atlantic Eggs. Everything has always been fresh and delicious and the portions very generous. For the kids we have often asked to split a serve of bacon and eggs, and the staff always offer us two plates and cutlery without batting an eyelid. The kids pancake is also a firm favourite with or without ice cream. There’s the standard fare available on the drinks list, however I think the best item is the kids milkshake which (if you ask) they will put into a takeaway cup with a lid and straw so there’s no spills – love that!!
It’s a really family friendly cafe, with one old school high chair and a kids table with toys. It’s handy if you can get a table next to the kids one so that they can entertain themselves while you can actually eat your meal and have a chat! On sunny days the outdoor tables fill up fast and there’s a line for takeaway coffee out the side door, but the wait for a table is never long. A great spot for the locals!
Address: 611 Gilbert Rd, Preston VIC 3072
Phone: (03) 9471 1900
Opening hours: Mon – Fri: 6.30am to 3.30pm, Sat – Sun: 7.30am to 3.3opm