Mother and entrepreneur Dixie Rose on how family and work spill into each other in bountiful ways at Arvo Cafe.
Arvo is a physical manifestation of the Rose family. Set in the burgeoning neighborhood of Kaka‘ako, the café is a picture of Australia in the heart of Hawai‘i—the take-away coffee window, the beachy umbrellas, the loulu palms. It is unquestionably stylish, but not in an off-putting kind of way.
The employees are busy but cheerful, bustling behind a light box with the saying for the day, “Raise em strong.” Above, plants hang on loan from Paiko, the floral boutique with which the café shares space.
Dixie Rose first met her husband, Mason, in Hawai‘i, but it wasn’t until she took a trip to Australia that the duo really hit it off.
Originally from Byron Bay, Mason is a videographer and photographer whose talents let him travel widely. The two settled down, and made another cool addition to their family with their son, Phoenix.
A few years later, Dixie realized there was a gap in the children’s clothing market for comfortable threads that would instill Phoenix with confidence. Dixie set out to make them, and the children’s brand Oopsy Daze was born.
You just have to be authentic.
Being fans of café culture in Australia, the Roses longed for a similar scene in Hawai‘i, and contemplated opening a coffee shop of their own.
But the timing of the Roses’ learning about an available space at Paiko was precarious—it was only days after Phoenix fell off a bench and cut his leg on glass so badly that it seemed he might die, and shortly before Dixie found out she was pregnant with their daughter, Rosie. Some would have taken these as signs that life was too hectic to tackle any new venture. Mason and Dixie felt differently. Bring it on, they said.
The couple knew their café “had to be Aussie,” with the perfect pairings of espresso and milk, avocado toast featuring Vegemite, and an assortment of other Australian goods.
But they also tapped the talents of friends at Lana Lane, the shared creative space where Mason has a small studio—videographer Vincent Ricafort offered up his matcha chia seed pudding recipe, and artist Jeff Gress hand-lettered the menus.
The café opened in February 2016. The Roses joked that if a few friends stopped by occasionally, Arvo would be a success. Now, someone from Lana Lane patrons the café almost every day.
Dixie’s day starts with nursing, making Phoenix’s lunch for school, and then getting as much work done as possible, either at home or at Arvo, where she has created a nook to hang out with Rosie.
Balancing family and work is less like a juggling act and more like a watercolor for Dixie—it bleeds together, beautifully, chaotically, sometimes working and sometimes not. The family’s weekends are largely dictated by Phoenix, who lays down the law when his parents seem too distracted by business.
Together, the family of four exude authenticity. Energy. Good vibes. This is everything that Dixie wants for Phoenix, who at times looks to other kids and wonders if he should be doing as they do.
“You just have to be authentic,” she tells him.
Look in the Roses’ fridge, and you may find Bircher muesli, a breakfast staple in Australia that is a version of overnight oats. Dixie learned to make it at a favorite café, and keeps it on hand for a simple morning meal or ready-to-go snack. Try it at Arvo when it is on special, or follow Dixie’s simple recipe to make the muesli for yourself:
2 cups rolled oats 1 apple, chopped 1 cup walnuts or nuts of choice 1/4 cup honey 1 cup milk of choice 1 cup apple juice 1 cup Greek yogurt (or homemade coconut yogurt) 1/2 cup raisins 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
Mix all ingredients, seal in container, leave it in fridge overnight. Before serving, top with additional fresh fruit or fruit puree.