Our Founder

The owner and founder of the Lillipad Cafe that many know is Yuri, a widely-travelled, experienced business owner. Yuri has collected experiences and flavours to bring to The Lillipad Cafe along every step of his journey.

After leaving Russia as a refugee in the late 1970’s with his young family, Yuri moved to the United States in search of freedom and opportunities. After many varied jobs, including cooking in a small family-owned Russian restaurant, Yuri started his first company at the age of 27. With an ability to see what the market needs, and adapt his business accordingly, what began as a car rental company with 3 cars became a fleet of 40 rental vehicles within 2 years. Yuri continued to grow this business into what became a large removal and transport company, employing a total of 86 people and a fleet of over 20 trucks.

After 23 years of big business in the USA, Yuri sought a change in lifestyle. Drawn to the tropics and a desire to learn to sail, he moved to Cairns, Australia. Motivated by a lifelong passion for cooking and a desire to create honest, fresh, high quality food, Yuri bought the Lillipad Cafe in 2003. In recent years, Yuri’s deep belief in ‘equal rights’ led him to collaborate with staff, friends and family to further develop the current menu to be as flexible and inclusive to all food preferences as possible. Seeing the success of this adaption and the response of his customers has inspired Yuri to want to take this model further and share the success.

Our Safety Commitment

COVID-19 hasn’t stopped us creating delicious food, but it has meant a few added precautions and restrictions to keep the good vibes coming: