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Byron General Store: a historic Byron Bay icon bursting with local plant-based cuisine

A visit to Byron General Store involves experiencing an iconic part of Byron Bay history. But even better, pop in for a bite and you’ll be supporting an environmentally conscious business in their wholesome endeavours. 

Credit: Byron General Store

Serving the community 

Established in 1947, The Byron Bay General Store has not always been a modern cafe. Sat on Bungalow Road just outside of the town centre, the quaint building boasts a rich local history. Once known as a grocery store and with numerous different names, the building has always been a meeting place and the spot where locals go about their daily chitchat. Reworked and rebranded, the store has never been knocked down but rather passed on throughout the years.

Paying respect to the space within the heritage-rich walls, owners Ben Gordon and Phil Taylor taking over in 2017 strived to keep the best qualities of The General Store. According to the owners, The General Store should become a laid-back spot with a community vibe, eco-friendly and supportive of local business. Accordingly, since 2017 the Byron Bay cafe has been serving the community with small-town vibes and filling up locals with wholesome food and drink.

Credit: Byron General Store

Wholesome, plant-based food

Those vegans and vegetarians among us are used to the “(vg)” symbol on a menu which alerts us to the handful of meals made with plants and containing no animal products. Flipping this idea on its head, The General Store makes veganism the norm. You’ll find a “(nv)” or in other words ‘not vegan’, beside a handful of meals which contain animal products.  

Drop into The General Store to get your hands on a gluten-free Vegan Buckwheat Waffle, served with a mouthwatering coconut ice cream, local New South Wales bananas and sticky date sauce. Diners seeking something more hearty might opt for the Magic Mushie Burger with a hemp seed sukkah and home made slaw. A Vegan Poke Bowl packed with nutrients from edamame, raw veg and mixed grains, sprinkled with a tantalising citrus soy dressing absolutely fits the bill for healthy lunch on a sunny Byron Bay day.

Credit: Byron General Store

High-quality produce and an eco-friendly ethos

Serving up all sorts of tasty dishes, the underlying theme at The General Store is healthy food with a big dose of freshness. Sourcing from organic farmers in the vicinity, the Byron Bay Cafe puts a big emphasis on their food standards and understands that high-quality produce, results in top-notch fresh cuisine. Yet on top of this, the establishment also goes out of its way to reduce its footprint for the benefit of future generations. Sustainability has been the mission from the very beginning and has been adopted in every aspect of the business.

A number of excellent sustainability initiatives already implemented at Byron Bay General Store make for an awesome start in a long sustainability journey. Meanwhile, accepting that an eco-friendly life is less about a final state, and more about learning along the way, the cafe – on their website – asks for and accepts feedback and tips from the public relating to sustainability.

Upon designing and fitting out the gorgeous space, recycled materials were used as much as possible. Meanwhile, today you’ll find Byron Bay General Store powering 75%-85% of their energy from solar panels as well as recycling and sorting waste, including organic composting. What’s more, the spot uses biodegradable packaging and is completely single-use-plastic free. Those who stroll or cycle down for their morning coffee – rather than drive – are offered 10% off, whilst a 50c reduction is available to anyone with their own takeaway mug. 

And if that wasn’t enough to win your support, Byron General Store offsets their carbon usage each year by planting trees and organises monthly beach clean-ups with Byron Rangers.

Credit: Byron General Store

Let’s also not forget the wildly significant difference that eating a plant-based diet can have on our environment too. Reducing the use of single-use plastics might be more visible or easily quantifiable than carbon emissions from animal agriculture, but it’s certainly not less important. Individuals eating vegan meals two-thirds of the time are predicted to reduce food-related carbon emissions by 60%. This chic Byron Bay spot makes a huge difference to its carbon footprint by offering a mostly plant-based menu to its clients and normalising plant-based options. 

Drop by Byron Bay General store during your trip to the sparkling NSW coastline and experience a slice of Byron Bay history. Nibbling on your vegan burger packed with pure goodness, you’ll be supporting a local business striving to do great things for the community as well as the environment. 

Where?

Website: www.byrongeneralstore.com

Address: 26 Bangalow Rd, Byron Bay NSW 2481

When?

Monday-Sunday | 7am – 1.30pm

Jessica Beaumont
Noticing the footprints left behind by travellers in the countries she has lived in and loved, Jessica found her calling in the sustainable travel niche. Aside from writing, Jessica is found exploring the Adelaide Hills for good views and delectable wines, dancing, taking leisurely walks on the beach and trying to make friends with dogs.