My Place: Praveen Vegunta

Praveen Vegunta. Photo: Shawn Smits.

By Jessica Micallef

Praveen Vegunta is the owner of Nutbug restaurant in Sunbury. The food enthusiast chats with Jessica Micallef about the business and his go-to order at the American style waffle house.

What is your connection to the Sunbury and Macedon Ranges?

My wife and I fell in love with Sunbury when we first drove past the suburb. We thought it’s a great suburb to raise our two very young boys because Sunbury has a rural charm and a community vibe with urban conveniences. When I moved to Sunbury I realised the locals are excited to have something new. That was when the idea of Nutbug was conceived.

What are you passionate about?

Food and great company, that’s why I’ve initiated a new concept called the Nutbug Project as the first step towards building a community get-together for the people to enjoy a meal with local surplus food donations from businesses. On the last Sunday of the month we have a community dinner get-together at Nutbug with local business’ surplus food donations. All are welcome.

Your store Nutbug is not your average store you usually see in Melbourne – what food does it offer customers?

Nutbug is an American-style waffle house serving chicken and cone with a waffle base for the first time in Australia. We also offer waffle burgers with pulled-pork and beef brisket and house-made waffle fries. There’s sweet and savoury waffles, weekly specials and we cater for gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options.

How popular as the restaurant been with locals and visitors?

We have received a great amount of love and acceptance from the very tight knitted Sunbury community and almost half our regular customers are locals. We are also very proud that we have customers coming to Sunbury from all corners of Melbourne.

What would be your go-to order at Nutbug?

Chicken and cone for savoury lovers or berry waffle or waffle churros if you have a sweet tooth.

What do you enjoy most about owning Nutbug?

I’m very excited owning and operating Nutbug. It gives me an opportunity to do what I love by introducing something new to Australia while helping other local businesses. After being in the food industry for over 15 years, I understand the importance of a freshly cooked meal. As a big fan of a nice home cooked meal myself, my aim was to offer the same quality and freshness at my cafe.

What would people be most surprised to know about you?

Since I’m Indian-Australian, people are often surprised that I have an American restaurant as they expect me to have an Indian restaurant.