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Cafe by day, American bbq

Restaurant by night

slow smoked meats and Burgers

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How Third Wave Started

Third Wave Cafe started as a trendy inner Melbourne café with an aim to grow and so we did. After 9 years, we are one of Melbourne’s favourite American BBQ restaurants with a huge emphasis on slow-smoked meats and burgers.

During the day we start out as a café transitioning to an American BBQ and Burger restaurant from lunch onwards. As a café, we love our coffee so much that only the best equipment and beans are used. No expense was spared to make sure that the coffee is always full of flavour and extremely smooth.

As part of our American style barbecue menu, we serve up some of the more imaginative brunch dishes in Melbourne. 

  • Dishes like Green eggs with slow smoked lamb shoulder,
  • Porky Triple stack (a 3 stack of fluffy American pancakes with layers of Pulled pork, Candy Bacon and Maple Sauce)

 Of course, we also have favourites like:

  •  Baked Eggs with Chorizo and Asiago,
  • Candy Bacon breakfast (Streaky bacon brushed with Maple syrup, drizzled with organic brown sugar and chilli. Slow cooked to make it candy-like. Topped with fresh avocado, poached eggs and a little hollandaise. Served on toasted English Muffin). 
  • Plus, many more dishes that will make you wish you had breakfast with us every day. Breakfast is served all day till 5pm.

 We are a fairly small venue and are often booked out, so bookings are highly recommended.

What we do - as a cafe, and as an authentic American Style BBQ Restaurant

Third Wave is a combination of a Café and an American BBQ style restaurant. If you crave more than the standard fare for breakfast, Third Wave will satisfy. If you are looking for the most flavoursome cut-with-a-spoon slow smoked American BBQ meats, you can find them all here. If you are after the most packed-with-flavour, huge, unusual and imaginative burgers, Third Wave is the place.

On Tuesdays we have the ALL YOU CAN EAT BBQ nights. For $69.90 per person, you eat as much slow smoked Brisket, Beef Ribs, Lamb Shoulder, Chicken and more. Plus 2 rounds of entrees including Candy Bacon, Oink Balls, Quesadillas and chicken wings. To finish there is dessert. Choose from Key Lime Pie, Pecan Pie, Nutella Pie or Ice Cream Belgian Waffle Sandwich.

How do we turn our meats into the succulent cuts they are?

Our 2 smokers are working nonstop. These days we smoke up to 1000kg of meat per week. Hundreds of kilograms of meat is received and processed daily. Our chefs are constantly trimming, deboning and removing membranes. The kitchen is always full of smoke and spicy rub aromas. 

Everything from dozens of pork shoulders for pulled pork to huge whole beef briskets is smoked for up to 12 hours. The slow smoked meats we regularly serve include Texas Style Beef Brisket, Pork Ribs, Beef Ribs, Pork Belly, Lamb Shoulder, Salmon, Chicken, Chicken Wings, Chicken Ribs, Sausages and more. The meats are smoked with Hickory, Maple and Apple woods. Hickory is used for all the dark meats like Beef Brisket, Beef Ribs and Lamb Shoulder. Maple is a little milder, so we use it for the lighter meats like Pork and Chicken. Finally, Applewood is great for smoking Salmon.

We also make 2 BBQ sauces – Apple Bourbon and Spicy BBQ.

Our American BBQ Food

All the smoked meats are in the Texas, Kansas and Caroline barbecue traditions. Using house-made Rubs made from over a dozen ingredients we impart incredibly intense flavours. All the meats are marinated from 24 to 48 hours in either dry rubs or wet marinades. Then smoked for up to 12 hours. The result is fall-off-the-bone full of flavour meats that you need a spoon to cut. You must try it to believe.

Let’s not forget about the sides. We took the humble cornbread and elevated it to greater heights by adding 2 kinds of cheese. The mac and cheese is smoked and mixed with grilled bacon bits. Our Glazed mushrooms are juicy and full of intense flavour.  Some people say we have the best loaded fries. Here is a list of Loaded Fries options on the menu – Beer Battered Fries Loaded with Slow Smoked Brisket, Cheese sauce and Spicy BBQ Sauce; Beer Battered Fries loaded with Mac & Cheese and Cheese Sauce; Sweet Potato Fries loaded with Pulled Pork, Apple Bourbon BBQ sauce & sour cream. This is just a small selection from a much large sides menu.

Other meaty sides include Candy Bacon, Oink Balls and Slow smoked wings. What are Oink Balls you may ask… we will leave you to guess or click on our menu for full description. Crunchy onion rings and Crispy Coleslaw round off the side offerings. 

Burgers are a huge part of our success. Every day we get feedback from customers that our burgers are the best they have ever tried. Using the best brioche buns and large 150g patties, 2-Year-old Jack cheese, house made ketchup we make the tastiest of burgers. There are 11 on the menu including an incredible vegetarian/vegan burger. Some of the burgers are made with slow smoked meats like the Oh Mamma Burger with deboned slow smoked Beef Ribs and Pulled Pork plus lots of other additions. If you like your burgers made in the traditional style or with a modern twist, we have you covered.

The house-made barbecue sauces have gathered a cult following as well. They were created based on prize winning recipes. Apple Bourbon BBQ Sauce is slightly sweet with a hint of heat. Our Spicy BBQ Sauce is not too spicy, with just enough heat to make everyone happy.

Monthly Specials

Our monthly specials have become legendary. We often hear “It’s a Third Wave” dish as a description of a dish that is over the top and somewhat extra ordinary. We have invented dishes like Burgerrito, the Everything Burrito, Smoky Mountain, The Wheelborough Challenge, Bacon Shell Tacos, Triple BBQ Nachos and many more. Every month there are 2 incredible specials that last only one month. Miss them at your own peril.

For all the latest monthly specials and cool things that are happening at Third Wave follow us on Facebook at @thirdwavecafe.

Third Wave Cafe in the Media

We have been featured in numerous publications, including

The Age, Herald Sun, The Burger Book, The UrbanList, Good Food Guide, LabBible, Twisted Foods, The Daily Mail

You can see our YouTube channel here.