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June 17, 2024

‘It’s now or never’: Café Komodo is saved

Two fans have bought Café Komodo and have reopened the Prospect favourite.

Cafe Komodo
  • Words: Claudia Dichiera
  • Pictures: supplied
  • Above from L—R: Mel Millard and Amber Grosser

On May 5, the owners of Café Komodo announced via Instagram they would be shutting the doors for good.

Having put the café on the market in November, owners Andrew and Bronwyn Taylor decided to close as they could not find anyone to buy the business.


Café Komodo
118 Prospect Road, Prospect 5082
Tue—Sun: 9am ’til 4pm

Reopening tomorrow


They said in May that the reason for closing was due to “rising costs of doing business” and that “Café Komodo cannot survive in its current state”.

But new owners Mel Millard and Amber Grosser have decided to save the venue, officially opening the doors again tomorrow.

Mel says the reason for buying the business is their personal connection to it.

“We’ve been together for 20 years and that’s around the same time that Komodo has existed. So some of our first dates were in that venue and we’ve always loved that laid-back vibe, we love that retro styling,” Mel says.

“The menu being so inclusive, especially 20 years ago, it was really hard to find gluten-free and vegan, and vegetarian… it’s more common now, but we’ve always loved that.

“So when we saw the announcement that it was closing, we were devastated.”

The mysterious laneway. This picture: Frankie the Creative.


The couple has worked in food and hospitality “[their] whole lives”, specifically in leadership roles managing businesses, but have never owned a venture of their own.

They understand the current hospitality crisis where “every publication is talking about hospitality being on its knees”. Despite this, the personal connection to the café made them want to save it.

“We thought, okay, it might not be the right time financially, our heads might say it’s not the right time but our hearts say it’s now or never,” new co-owner Mel says.

“This place is the place that was waiting for us.”

Despite the café being so public about its struggle to stay afloat, Mel says she will put methods in place to keep it viable.

“It’s not our intention to do this as a charity,” she says. 

“We’ve been able to turn it around quite quickly and we’ve satisfied ourselves that there is plenty of opportunity here. 

“There’s so much goodwill with the community, and it is a well-loved venue. But there is some things that can be done there that take Komodo to the next level. 

“It needs a bit of love.”

Mel says these things include a menu change and facelift that will both highlight the original essence of Café Komodo and be “what we think the Prospect community will want to see in the environment”. 

A Komodo spread. This picture: Frankie the Creative.


Mel admires the way original owners Andrew and Bronwyn Taylor have connected with the Prospect community and wants this new iteration of the café to do the same. 

“It’s quite a unique location being that it’s just off Prospect Road — that mysterious feeling of walking down the lane — there’s something nostalgic about it,” Mel says. 

“After being there for 20 years and that feeling of retro timing: you could be sitting on your nan’s couch in the living room. 

“That feeling of nostalgia is very important and knowing that the community is looking for a place to go that is inclusive, it’s affordable, it’s approachable — all of those things are what Komodo is.”

Café Komodo will reopen tomorrow after celebrating the last day with the previous owners on Sunday. 

Café Komodo is located at 118 Prospect Road, Prospect and is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9am until 4pm. 

Connect with the business on Instagram for more.

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