63D Barkly St, Mornington VIC
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With a sunny spot just off Main Street, Corner Counter is a pint-sized café luring locals with freshly made meals ready to grab-and-go. You’ll find the display cabinet stocked daily with house-made granola, salads, soups, wraps, and their signature stacked sandwiches on dark rye. It's wholesome, everyday food that you feel good eating. But you’d better get in quick, once the cabinet is empty, they’re done for the day.

This is the first business venture for co-owners Peta and Cinzia, who have worked together for over a decade. In 2015, the hospitality venue they worked at was taken over by new owners, prompting them to consider going out on their own. When they stumbled upon the small, light-filled corner store in Mornington – a former chocolate shop – they knew it was the one. They opened the doors to Corner Counter just four weeks later.  

Whilst the space might be small, it’s warm and welcoming, with natural light streaming through the glass frontage. A giant fiddle-leaf fig holds the door open, and on the walls, you’ll spy works from local artists. You can choose a seat in the window or relax under white umbrellas on the Acapulco lounges out front. Either way, it’s a great place to take a breather and escape the hustle and bustle of Main Street.

Inside, it’s all about good food and good vibes. The grinders are filled with locally-roasted beans from Revolution Coffee Roasters, and there’s an extensive selection of plant-based mylks on offer. Hot drinks are served in handmade ceramics by local maker Melanie Pec and takeaway orders are handed out with a handwritten note on top.

The daily offering focuses on local, seasonal produce, with plenty of vegan, gluten-free and fructose-friendly options available. Lunch might be a spelt salad served with Persian feta, slivered almonds, spinach and basil oil – or the super-green soup packed with immune-boosting herbs and spices. To finish, try the salted caramel slice with chunky pecan pieces, a moreish shortbread spiked with flaked almonds and chia seeds, or the ever-popular raspberry brownie. Yep, even the desserts are nourishing here.

The quality of the fare is even more impressive when you see the size of the kitchen, and learn that the pair do it all themselves. Peta is on sweets, whilst Cinzia covers the savouries. It’s a trade-off that works well and plays to their individual strengths. They switch between prepping, serving and chatting with the hoards of locals that visit them around lunchtime each day. It’s a fun dance to watch, and there’s something extra special about knowing the person serving you is also the one who made your meal.  

You can wander down to Corner Counter from 8am–2:30pm Monday to Friday, with catering and pre-orders available via telephone. If you want to get your mitts on one of the stacked salad sangas or a freshly baked brownie straight from the oven, you’d better get in early.