Sarah Hussey - The Perc Cafe

by Insiders Dunedin

Sarah Hussey has owned and operated The Perc Cafe, in central Dunedin for nearly ten years. It wasn’t their first foray into local business - in 2007 when son Lucas was just a baby - they already owned trendy clothing store Slick Willy’s, but had a sneaking suspicion that there was something better suited around the corner. “We had Slick Willy’s, but I wasn’t cool enough to work there!” she jokes.“I had to find something else to do that allowed the freedom of more time to spend with Lucas.”

Born and schooled in Dunedin, Sarah left town to live in Sydney, Christchurch and then Nelson. She returned a few years later to work and buy a house (when, she says, housing was affordable).Now she can’t imagine leaving again.

“Every day in Dunedin you’re meeting and getting to know so many people, but there are also familiar faces all the time. I can live in St Clair, and drive to work in ten minutes flat, and I love how safe we feel here. The kids can scoot to the shop on their own, the streets are safe and the owner of the local four square know who they are and where they love. “I love small town living.”

When Sarah is dining in, her favourite menu choice is halloumi - “the way it feels with you bite into it and the combination of avocado and chilli jam in the same mouthful is out of this world” she says.“Our most popular items next to our sensational coffee is our baking, Tan slice, cinnamon pinwheels, just like nana use to make. We also make things gluten free where we can and are dabbling in the art of tasty vegan baking..” When she’s dining out however, it’s at her local - The Esplanade on the St Clair beachside, where they serve her favourite Allures Coffee and pizzas that are ‘off the hook’. Plus after a couple of wines, its just a two-minute walk home.

“We have owned The Perc for almost ten years and opened The Perc Exchange about 18 months ago. And we have plans to expand further; hopefully this year. We love our staff and we heart Dunedin, why would you want to be anywhere else? #percfam”

Young, hard working locals investing into Dunedin. Nothing better. Great work Sarah

If you’re looking for baking like your grandmother used to do, The Perc Cafe is your go-to destination. Guilty pleasures packed with butter and sugar – choco-caramel, Tan slice and banana bread are the true standouts and portion sizes are never lacking! Located just below the Octagon on lower Stuart Street, The Perc Central caters to locals and tourists alike. The cabinet is packed with wholesome goodies, featuring locally sourced, free-range ingredients where possible (happy animals, happy customers). There's always a range of gluten-free and vegan items and the delicious All Press coffee is always top quality. 

The real highlight of the menu would have to be their bagels. Fresh, filling and healthy but also very affordable for anyone on a student budget. The Perc’s big tables, low lights and open counter make you feel like you could be sitting at home, reading a good magazine instead of in one of Dunedin’s most popular cafes.

Further South on Princes St, the Perc team also have a ‘baby café’. The Perc Exchange on Princes St is famous in its own right for great coffee and top-notch service.

Another great Dunedin cafe. Thanks, team Perc

Insiders tip:

They seem to have a secret year-round source of ‘green gold’ - ripe avocados of a calibre you'll never find in any southern supermarket!

To find out more information about The Perc visit

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