There are literally dozens of Australian businesses who have opened shop in New York. Some we know well, and others not so well.
We want our readers to learn about these businesses, where they are located, as well as share the personal stories of their owners.
We spoke with Ana Ivkosic, the Founder of Wattle Café – an Aussie café located on Third Avenue between 33rd and 34th Streets in New York City.
Ana, where were you born and educated in Australia?
I was born in Canberra and grew up in Wollongong. I attended High School at St Mary’s College before doing my Undergrad in Commerce at the University of Wollongong. I then attended UTS where I did my Masters in Finance.
What did you do before arriving in the US?
I worked in Finance for the National Australia Bank in Sydney before transferring to NAB’s London office. There, an opportunity arose to transfer to New York and work in NAB’s Capital Markets.
What inspired you to open Wattle Café?
The inspiration, the genesis of Wattle Café came from being a parent and seeing that New York does not offer a lot of healthy food options for my daughter.
I feel there is a growing demand for establishments that not only offer great coffee, but healthy food options. Customers also want an experience that is nicer than a diner, but not quite as formal as a full restaurant!
The only thing better than a cup of hot chocolate on a rainy NYC day is an entire tin of Milo!
What is unique about Wattle Café?
Wattle Café is a subtle homage to Australia, however the unintended consequence of the name is that Americans think it is a Waffle Café. Once I realized that waffles can be healthy, we embraced them and haven’t looked back since. At Wattle we’ve taken this iconic American dish and given it an Australian feel.
Our signature dish is a cacao waffle with avocado smash. The combination of cacao and avocado is a Vegan mouse, so we deconstructed that and made it into a waffle. Apart from the pastries and the bread we buy, all of the food we serve – the jams, the pestos, the waffles – all are made from scratch and are sugar free.
What advice would you give to an Australian considering opening a business in New York?
You need to be resilient. When things don’t necessarily go to plan – or what you think should be plan – that is not necessarily a reason to stop, but rather a reason to maneuver, to pivot, to find a different way, to find the solution that you need.
Persistence is the key!
You can visit Wattle Café on the web or stop by the location at 489 Third Ave between 33rd and 34th streets.