The Caltex Avenel roadhouse on the Hume Highway in Victoria attracts customers from all walks of life. But it’s the regular truck drivers who are well catered for. drops by for a coffee
THE HUME Highway north of Melbourne is dotted with service stations, many of which are able to cope with trucks of all shapes and sizes. However, the Caltex Roadhouse at Avenel has one attraction that sets it apart from the competition – the food.
According to the restaurant’s assistant manager Sandeepa Mula, truck drivers keep coming back for the meals on offer and the barista style coffee. And that’s any time, day or night.
“It is 24 hours and they can order any meal, any time,” Sandeepa says. “If they come in at midnight, 2 o’clock, no issues.”
Although there is no designated truckies room, the restaurant eating area is large with two separate dining rooms. The one furthest from the highway is adorned with truck murals and a large television on the wall.
“We have the best food, best barista coffee and we have different types of sweets and desserts,” Sandeepa says. “You can sit down and relax.”
What is especially attractive for drivers is the $20 truck deal, which consists of soup, a main meal, coffee and dessert.
“They can have specials, steaks, burgers, chicken parmas, chicken schnitzels,” Sandeepa continues. “And all the meals come with chips and salads, or vegetables, or they can have rice as well.”
Even more appealing is the loyalty card. For every 10 meals bought, truck drivers receive an 11th meal free of charge.
“We do have a lot of regular truckies, and they love our food,” she says. “And all our cooks are very experienced.”
Typically, the truckies’ favourite are the steaks – T-bone, scotch fillet, porterhouse and the occasional rump.
Sandeepa explains that meals take no longer than 15 minutes to prepare.
However, she says it’s not uncommon for drivers who are pushed for time to phone ahead and order their food.
“Some come in, order the food, take a shower, and by the time they come back the food is ready. It’s not like you’re waiting for so long,” she says.
The shower facilities are located between the restaurant and the Caltex Star Mart, which are separate businesses.
The restaurant side is operated by Nuv Petroleum, which runs more than 20 service stations and roadhouses in Australia, most under the Caltex banner.
Accordng to Sandeepa, most are truck stops where Nuv Petroleum operates both fuel and restaurant outlets.
Owner//Driver also caught up with Jawad Bukhari, who was behind the Caltex counter.
He says with the large parking area out back, it’s usual for truck drivers to park up and sleep overnight. And with the easy access from the Hume, the site attracts customers travelling both directions.
At only 90 minutes or so from Melbourne’s CBD, the Caltex Avenel is well situated for those drivers en route to Sydney, or for those heading south to load and unload.
Jawad Bukhari behind the Star Mart counter
Ample parking out the back
Sandeepa Mula says the roadhouse especially caters for truck drivers