As part of our Taste Of Time series we talk to some of the longest established cafes and restaurants in the region - Words by Janie Barton
Who doesn’t love a good burger?
Burgers have been around since most of us can remember. As kids, we loved backyard get togethers with hamburgers grilling on the barbecues. As teenagers, we gorged on drive-through burgers and, as we get older and wiser, we love sinking our teeth into quality, tasty burgers with all the extra trimmings.
Due to Australians’ love affair with burgers, the days of the plain ol’ burger are gone. Burger lovers today want quality and freshness.
Apex Milk Bar formerly Apex Fish n Snack Bar has been operating since 1960 in the same location.
After a revival in October 2014, under the new ownership of Bill O’Rourke, this long serving Cairns Diner has risen from the ashes to serve locals excellent burgers, fish & chips, salads, cold drinks and so much more.
“When I opened Apex Milk Bar in 2014,
we were one of the first on-trend burger offerings in Cairns,” Apex owner Bill O’Rourke said. “At that time, burgers and burger shops were becoming really popular again, with independent burger bars popping up all across the country.
“From day one we set out to offer a fresh, friendly and fast experience for our customers. We made our sauces, sourced our meat from the Tableland’s, our fish from the Gulf and our burger buns custom-baked daily. It wasn’t an expectation that was something you’d get from a ‘take-away’ shop, but that was the difference we were offering.”
And it immediately resonated with the locals. Within five months, the city’s newest burger joint picked up the honour of winning Cairns Best Burger award.
“It was awesome,” said Bill. “Probably my favourite award so far.”
Apex has won numerous accolades since, as its reputation for providing innovative and delicious burgers continues. With a burger menu that covers all bases from beef, steak, pork, chicken, fish, veggie and vegan burgers there’s something for every palate.
Its top six burgers are the Cheesy Deluxe, Rick James, Diego, Miss Piggy, My Boy Blue and Far North Fish Burger.
While its award-winning burgers are a huge drawing card for the Manunda shop, where guests can dine inside or outside in the leafy garden, they also serve great fish and chips, sides, hot dogs, salads and milk shakes that are all made with the same love and care.
To add to the burger culture, the family-friendly licensed venue hosts food events on Fridays and Saturdays with a menu specifically created for the day.
“We’ve just installed some beer taps and stock a good selection of ciders, soft drinks, wine and some cheeky hand-made alcoholic coolers,” said Bill. “Pairing this up with good food as the sun goes down just makes sense.
“Since we opened five years ago, about seven other burger shops opened in Cairns, and they’re all doing great things in their own way” Bill said. “It is a testament to the burger culture that has developed in Cairns over the years.”
Apex Milk Bar
24 Hoare Street, Cairns