Words: Kate Holland

It’s noon on a Friday and The Parade (at Norwood) is bustling. I do a loop in my car before I pinpoint Rodeo’s location. The space is small, but it packs a punch.

There are clusters of people leaning against the wall and waiting for food and drinks alike. A chatty group of businesswomen cluster around the long, thin bench that flanks the roadside, before seemingly fleeing back to their desks. As soon as they leave, their seats are taken.

I repeat, the space is small (you’d fit six inside at a stretch) but there are enough savvy staff to ensure a swift turnover. It’s also funky.

Rodeo is written in orange, bold, retro writing on a terrazzo wall. The terrazzo wall matches the flooring. The same retro font (and colour scheme) is used on the menu – it’s simple, bright and enticing.

The back wall boasts a splash of brand colour – orange, pink and green – along with core messaging. Rodeo offers food ‘Made with Love, for the Free Thinkers + Good Eaters.’ A giant zebra, funky dice, stars, flowers and a cowboy boot create a sense of free-spirited Western fun.

Even the paper lining my lunch plate is replete with branding. This is no slap-dash affair. Kudos to designer Mia Smith (who brought everything together, including the colour-matched fit-out).

Staff are proudly adorned in dark green t-shirts busy with orange branding. They all act like they want to be there, which is exactly what owners Izzy and Fraser intended – staff who are free to be themselves and connect with customers.

As for the food, I picked a fried haloumi and avocado toasted sourdough and enjoyed every morsel.

The prices are standard for the level of quality you get. Nothing edible sits below $10. Most Turkish or sourdough creations are around $15, and at least one of the ‘Sandos’ creep up to $18. (It’s the friend chicken one, by the way, and I overheard people saying it’s well worth it!) 

There are Sando Specials and Seasonal Salads on offer. And they cater for the gluten-free amongst us. I’m told the coffee is delicious. It makes sense as Fraser’s first business was Pogo Coffee Roasters, and they serve one of his blends here too.

Take note if you’re sensitive to caffeine: they only do double shots. It even says so on the menu. I’m keen to return and give one a try. I’ll suss out the jars of produce that sit in front of the funky white coffee machine while I’m there. 

Izzy and Fraser met working at Hoyts in Norwood as teenagers. They’ve experienced countless facets of the hospitality industry ever since. You can tell. This might be their first sando and speciality coffee shop together, but it sure doesn’t feel like their first rodeo.

Find Rodeo Food and Beverage at 224 The Parade, Norwood | Open: 6am – 4pm Mon – Fri, 7am – 4pm Sat, 7am – 3pm Sunday