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Foodies are finding their feet in the city

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When he used to travel to Newcastle to play hockey as a kid, Joshua Marshall thought the harbour city was more of a “workers town” than a place you’d chose to visit. 

He and his family would travel down the Pacific Highway, play sport, pack up and head back home to Burringbar as swiftly as possible. 

There was never any desire to stop and spend time exploring the former coal and steel town. 

So, it’s rather ironic that little more than a decade later, the savvy young businessman has completely changed his tune, openly admitting he’s fallen for the city and its cool new vibe. 

Together with his partner Meckenzie Youngblutt, Josh has set up home in Newcastle East and is investing in the local economy, purchasing two cafes and a catering business.  

The couple are the duo behind 23Hundred Espresso on Scott Street in Newcastle East and Akuna Café in Merewether. 

After first laying roots here while undertaking university degrees, the pair now call Newy home. 

“Newcastle is awesome,” Josh says. 

“The change that we’ve seen here in the past four years is phenomenal, especially within the East End, where we live and work. 

“There are so many new businesses cropping up. 

“When we first used to go to 23Hundred as customers there were probably two or three cafes along Pacific Street.

“Now, you’re looking at six or seven different food places, and they’ve all got their own niche, and their own customers.  

“The food scene has definitely come to life here over the past few years.” 

The 22-year-old believes the boom is only just beginning as well.  

“I think once you see the one-way strip along Hunter Street come to life with the east end development that’ll be phenomenal,” Josh said.

People are migrating back into the city, and it’s having an extensive events calendar that is driving the return, he adds.

“You’ve got these major events that are putting it on the map, and as soon as people come here once, they’re realising that outside Melbourne and Sydney, Newcastle has some of the best hospitality venues in Australia,” Josh said.

“And, everything is within walking distance, not many cities can brag about that.” 

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