Sydney’s sweet teeth have been waiting with baited breath for the long awaited Tella Balls Dessert Bar – pastry cabinets choc full of jumbo cronuts drizzled in chocolate and confectionary, Nutella jars bigger than your head, crepes, homemade gelato, and of course, the famous Tella Balls – the Tella Balls Dessert Bar’s Instagram feed has had us drooling for months. Well, the moment is (almost) finally here.
Aki Daikos and his Foodcraft Espresso team took the world by storm when the Tella Ball food appeared on our foodie radars – doughy balls stuffed full of oozy Nutella. Right when other states in the country were in the middle of a Nutella drought, we were drowning in it.
Then there was the Tella Shake. The New York Times even took notice. Now the doughnut dream team have turned their eyes to an even more decadent dessert offering – an entire bar with a menu to satisfy the sweetest of sweet teeth.
The Tella Balls Dessert Bar opens officially on 29 February, and it’s got a few sweet treats that we’re betting will have the world talking. Say hello to Gelato-Dough. Doughnut-shaped gelato. (We’re serious, read on to find out more!)
So how do you take a cute café to cosmic success? We chat to Aki about what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur and what how he took the Tella Ball to the world:
What does an average day look like for the Tella Ball man?
Our trading hours at the Tella Balls Dessert Bar will be 11am-11pm, so for the first in 20 years I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn – which is awesome!
In the morning I get up, go to the gym, have a shower, get ready go to work, work on my social media – I love doing social media.
How much of your day is spent on social media?
I’d say probably at least 30% of it. I’m quite passionate about it, and I have a background in business marketing so for me its about connecting. I spent a lot of time on Linked in too. People connect with me from around the world – there’s been a lot of interest in taking this brand to NY, UAE, Iran, also Miami, and these are connections I’ve made through Linked in.
What advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs?
You’ve got to love what you do. I don’t see it as going to work, I never look at my watch and go “oh no, still 2 hours to go”. I love what I do and it’s a fun place to be. I want people to come here and know me, as a great business person but a friend as well, someone approachable, who you can sit down with and have a conversation and a laugh with.
For someone who is starting out, if you’re passionate about what you do, and you love what you do, you don’t see it as work. And that’s the most important thing.
How many people are now in your team?
There’s around 20 now – we have a pastry team who works offsite on the Tella Balls and Cronuts. We don’t have the space to do it here. We expanded that kitchen whent the Tella Balls took off as we’re making around 300 Tella Balls on a weekday and probably another 1,000 a day on weekends.
Where did the idea for the Tella Ball come from?
With my previous cafes, I had an Italian supplier providing Nutella doughnuts. I love the doughnuts, I love the Nutella. I used social media to build a following around them, so when I started Foodcraft Espresso, I decided I wanted to make my own doughnuts and make them into a brand. That worked really well, and then we created the world famous Tella Ball shake, which went absolutely crazy.
How is the Tella Bar associated with Nutella?
I don’t want people to know this as a Nutella store, because it’s not. I want people to know this as the most amazing dessert bar they’ve ever seen, it’s for the sweetest of the world. We use the products people grew up loving – Kit Kats, Oreos, Reeses Pieces and Wagon Wheels. Yes we use Nutella. Is it our hero product? Probably not. It’s one of the main products we use, but we treat every product as equal.
What’s your game plan for success?
I’m at a stage now where I can work a lot smarter, rather than harder. It’s all about putting a system in place and having the right staff on board. We have a great bunch of professionals working with us… we’ve got an amazing Italian husband and wife team that makes the gelato. They just arrived from Italy and they’re so passionate. Our crepe maker is from Italy too – he was making crepes in the markets of Italy. We’ve hired the most amazing team here to blow Sydney away. It’s about team work.
Tell us about the Gela-to
People love are doughnuts and gelato. We’ve combined the two together – we put gelato on a stick that looks like a doughnut but tastes like gelato. The doughnut is ice cream – doughnut flavoured ice cream. We call it Gelato-Dough. Travelling through Europe we saw the concept and we wanted to bring it to Australia. I thought we could do something amazing here with it. The kids will go crazy.
What inspires you to create these amazing desserts?
My inspiration is from travel. I try to visit as many places as I can all over the world.
Social media handles
Instagram: @Tellaballsdessertbar @foodcraftespresso
Tella Balls Dessert Bar
372 New Canterbury Rd, Dulwich Hill