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Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

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submitted by Effy Alexakis on 02.04.2017

PARAGON CAFE, KATOOMBA, LECTURE

A BIG THANK YOU to all who attended and enjoyed the presentation at KATOOMBA'S famous PARAGON CAFE by EFFY ALEXAKIS & LEONARD JANISZEWSKI – the collective "buzz", involvement, comments and questions by the audience were fantastic!! Jack Simos (who commenced operating the Paragon back in 1916) would have been proud!
More lectures will be scheduled during 2017 at various venues around the country – so keep updated by checking the "Greek Cafes & Milk Bars of Australia" website! 
A new series of lectures are also being developed which will focus on more individual cafe stories and themes in even greater detail.
This lecture was part of the 2017 GREEK FESTIVAL OF SYDNEY.
Photo: The audience in the Paragon's 1930s "Pre-Columbian Art Deco" Banquet Hall. Photo by Effy Alexakis

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by Effy Alexakis on 18.03.2017

Greek Café & Milk Bar Lecture and Afternoon Tea @ the Paragon Café, Katoomba

DATE: Saturday 1st April 2017

TIME: 2.30pm – 4.30pm

VENUE: Paragon Café, 65 Katoomba Street, Katoomba, NSW

An illustrated lecture by social historian Leonard Janiszewski and documentary photographer Effy Alexakis

Back by popular demand as part of the 2017 GREEK FESTIVAL OF SYDNEY!

This lecture at the famous Paragon Café, Katoomba, will highlight the content of the speakers’ recent book, Greek Cafés & Milk Bars of Australia, based upon 30 years of research on four continents. Throughout most of the twentieth century, Australia’s Greek cafés and milk bars generated unprecedented social and cultural change. Janiszewski and Alexakis will demonstrate how enterprises run by Greeks successfully married Hellenic and cross-cultural influences with local needs, merging local fare with new American food-catering ideas and products. Spreading through both country towns and large cities, these businesses contributed to a major change in Australian eating habits and popular culture.

COST: $20.00 (INCLUDES AFTERNOON TEA)

RESERVE YOUR SEAT: Book through the following website:

https://www.stickytickets.com.au/46955/greek_cafes__milk_bars_of_australia.aspx

PHOTO: Alabaster frieze depicting classical figures (designed by Danish artist Otto Steen), Paragon Cafe, Katoomba, NSW, 2014.

Photo by Effy Alexakis, from the 'In Their Own Image: Greek-Australians' National Project Archives, Macquarie University

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by Effy Alexakis on 18.03.2017

A GREEK CAFÉ & MILK BAR FORUM – NSW PARLIAMENT HOUSE

Milk bar and café counters were meeting points between Greek-Australians and British-Australians.

“I’ll meet you at the Greeks” became a popular phrase in many Australia cities and country towns during most of the 20th century – the Greek-run café and milk bar offered a familiar meal, American milk shakes, sodas, ice creams and milk chocolates, amidst the dazzle and sparkle of architectural glamour also from the USA.

But behind the smiles, behind the counters, what was life like for the Greek proprietors and their families? Led by café researchers Leonard Janiszewski and Effy Alexakis, a panel of distinguished Greek-Australians who grew up in Greek cafés and milk bars, will attempt to reveal insights into this question.

The panellists are: Lex Marinos (actor/broadcaster/arts personality), Nick Pappas (lawyer/Rabbitohs Chairman) Adam J. Gerondis (food catering business owner), Anna Patty (Fairfax journalist), Chrissa Loukas (barrister/public defender) and Marina Efthimiou (food catering business owner).

Date: Wednesday 29 March

Start time: 6.30 pm

Venue: The Theatrette, Parliament of NSW, Macquarie Street, Sydney.

Ticket: Free

RSVP: 9750 0440 or greekfestival@goc.com.au

Language: English

A MAJOR 2017 GREEK FESTIVAL OF SYDNEY EVENT

Photo: Popular Café, Cootamundra, NSW, 1952 – Photo courtesy E. Dascarolis, from the ‘In Their Own Image: Greek-Australians’ National Project Archives, Macquarie University

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by Effy Alexakis on 13.03.2017

GREEK CAFES & MILK BARS LECTURE – ORANGE & COWRA NSW

Macquarie University researchers Effy Alexakis and Leonard Janiszewski will be presenting Greek cafe and milk bar history lectures at ORANGE and COWRA LIBRARIES on the 16th and 17th of March respectively. Orange is an evening event (commencing at 5.30pm) whilst Cowra will take place in the afternoon (commencing at 2.00pm). To book seats please call Jasmine Vidler on (02) 6393 8125 OR book on line: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/greek-cafes-talk-at-orange-…
https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/greek-cafes-talk-at-cowra-l…
Books and book signing will take place at these events
www.cafesandmilkbars.com.au

 

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by Effy Alexakis on 08.02.2017

Greek Café & Milk Bar Lecture and Afternoon Tea at the Niagara Café at Gundagai

Greek Café & Milk Bar Lecture and Afternoon Tea at the Niagara Café at Gundagai

 

DATE: Saturday 11th March

TIME: 3 – 4.30 pm

VENUE: 142 Sheridan Street Gundagai

 

An illustrated lecture by social historian Leonard Janiszewski and documentary photographer Effy Alexakis.

 

In an Australia we still remember, in each suburb and every country town, was a Greek café or milk bar, open all hours, 7 days a week. Still operating and with original booth seating and fixtures is the Niagara Café in Gundagai.  Established around 1902 by Strati Notaras.  The Castrission family ran it from 1919 until 1983, it is currently managed by the Loukissas family.

 

Halfway between Sydney and Melbourne (a 4 hour drive from Sydney), join Effy and Leonard to hear the story of the Greek Café and Milk Bar history of Australia (based on their recent book) at this unique venue. Afternoon tea will be served following the talk. There are many motels in Gundagai if people wish to stay the evening.

 

COST: $20 (please pay beforehand to reserve your seat, email effy@photowrite.com.au for direct deposit details)

 

 

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by Effy Alexakis on 24.10.2016

Adelaide book launch of Greek Cafes & Milk Bars of Australia, 15 November 2016

Kytherians in Adelaide, you are kindly invited to the launch of Greek Cafes & Milk Bars of Australia.

The event on the 15th November is being hosted by the MARAS group, and the book will be launched by Senator Nick Xenophon.

Please RSVP is you wish to attend. See the details on the invitation.

www.cafesandmilkbars.com.au

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submitted by Stephen Trifyllis on 05.10.2016

kalo mesimeri !

a great lunch at one of the island finest restaurants ... panaretos in the platia of potamos .. magnificent , food like my mother , grandmothers cooked in years gone by .. kali orixi !!

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by Effy Alexakis on 03.08.2016

Greek Cafes and Milk Bars of Australia

Melbourne Book launch of Greek Cafes and Milk Bars of Australia will be hosted at the Greek Centre on Wednesday 10th August at 7pm, 168 Lonsdale St Melbourne, RSVP to rsvp@greekcentre.com.au

A lecture will also be presented at Brunswick Library on thursday 11th August at 7.30 pm, cnr Sydney Road and Dawson St, Brunswick. RSVP 03 9389 8600 or readmore@moreland.vic.gov.au

 

If you are interested in ordering the book, they are available from www.cafesandmilkbars.com.au

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by Effy Alexakis on 16.06.2016

Greek Cafes & Milk Bars of Australia to be launched in Brisbane.

Book launch and lecture on the 13th July at The Greek Club in Sth Brisbane. Please RSVP 3249 1000.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by Effy Alexakis on 03.05.2016

Lecture and Book Launch at Hellenic Club Woden, Canberra

Effy Alexakis and Leonard Janiszewski will be giving a lecture and launching their book Greek Cafes and Milk Bars of Australia at the Hellenic Club in Canberra on the 16th May @ 7.30pm. 

RSVP to Lisa on 6162 6624 or email lisa@hellenicclub.com.au

If you are unable to attend and wish to order the book, details at www.cafesandmilkbars.com.au

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by Sunday Telegraph on 08.11.2015

The Rio milk bar at Summer Hill sells to underbidder for figure around $1.7 million

Sunday Telegraph, November 8, 2015 page 12

Brendan Wong

Photograph: The large crowd that turned out for the auction of The Rio milk bar in Summer Hill. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

In its heyday it was the go-to place for greasers, lured by a jukebox full of hits and a steady stream of milkshakes — but the site of famed Summer Hill milk bar The Rio will get a new injection of life after selling for a figure around the $1.7 million mark.

The property at 126 Smith St sold today to the underbidder at an earlier auction, after the initial winning bid of $1.765 million fell through, and it is believed that the new owner secured the property for just under that figure.

Listing agent Michael Garcia from LJ Hooker refused to disclose the sale price but said it was “over the reserve”.

He said the price guide during the campaign had been $1.2 million-plus.

Rob Trovato from Auction Services auctions off the iconic milk bar in Summer Hill. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

Locals watch the auction from across the road. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

The new owners Tom Alegounarias and Annetta Tourta said they were planning to lease the property out.

“We hope the character of the building will be maintained,” Mr Alegounarias said.

New owners Tom Alegounarias and his wife Annetta Tourta plan to lease out the building. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

The property had been owned by local icon George Poulos, who died earlier this year, aged 92.

Known to his family as “the General”, Mr Poulos fought in World War II and opened the milk bar with his father Philip after moving to Sydney from Greece in 1952.

His son Nick Poulos said he will miss the store.

Brother and sister Nick and Aphrodite Poulos after the auction.

“I'm delighted naturally and very happy that it’s sold to a Greek family with a similar background,” Mr Poulos said.

“I’ll miss reliving the memories and visiting our dad and doing the shopping with him and coming back watching old TV shows and movies.”

George Poulos and his son Nick in a photo taken in 2013. Picture: Philip Blatch

Mr Poulos’ father opened the store every day, except for Sundays, for 63 years.

“The milk bar was just like the Happy Day series and I was the Fonzo,” Mr Poulos said.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by Neos Kosmos, Melbourne on 29.05.2015

Roxy wins Museums Australia award

The museum was created in a 1930s cinema and café established by Kytherian migrants.

Neos Kosmos, Melbourne 28 May 2015

View / download a .pdf version of the article:

Roxy wins Museums Australia Award Sat 23 May 2015 self-contained.pdf

MICHAEL SWEET

The Roxy Museum at Bingara in northern NSW has won a Museums and Galleries National Award - one of the most prestigious awards offered by Museums Australia.

The museum, which opened its doors last year, was created in a 1930s cinema and café established by Kytherian migrants.

Curated by author and historian Peter Prineas, grandson of Peter Feros - one of the Roxy Cinema's pre-war founders - the museum tells the story of Greek migrants who established cafés and cinemas across regional Australia from the 1920s to the 1970s, almost all of which are now long gone.

Melbourne museum consultants Convergence were responsible for the winning design - a delicate task that involved installing the latest museum technologies at the precious heritage site.

The company's director Jenni Klempfner said she was thrilled for the project to receive such recognition.

"Convergence Associates is delighted to hear that Museums Australia has chosen to recognise the Roxy Greek Museum with this award.

"It shows the foresight of the Gwydir Shire Council in purchasing and restoring the Roxy complex, and illustrates the power of community-instigated and community-run museum projects, no matter their size."

The council and museum will receive a MAGNA winner's award in the 'Permanent Exhibition or Gallery Fitout' category, for projects with a budget of between $20k and $150k.

Museum Australia's judging panel said that the museum was "stunning project well executed" and that the remoteness and lack of resources of the community had made the project all the more exceptional.

The judges added that the project was an "excellent revival of a heritage site to tell an important local story".

The museum - with fully-restored 1930s-style cafe - is owned and managed by Gwydir Shire Council.

A spokesperson for the council told Neos Kosmos: "We're very proud to have a facility of this calibre in our small town, and for it to be recognised.

"Winning this award is testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff and volunteers, the Roxy Greek Museum Committee and curator Peter Prineas."

The Roxy Museum's donors include the Nicholas Aroney Trust, the Kytherian Association of Australia, AHEPA and Sydney businessman Nick Politis.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by Barbara Zantiotis on 22.04.2015

Paragon Cafe, Katoomba

My father Stephen has many memories of the Paragon Cafe in Katoomba. He thinks this paper bag is from one of his visits there in 1949! I found it in a little box!

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by Greek-Australian Cafe Culture on 31.03.2015

Souvlakia’s journey: a Greek-Australian food odyssey.

Photograph: Bouillabaisse recipe. Nicholas Tselementes’ Greek cookery 1959, 20-21. Courtesy Maria Theodorakis. Photo: Toni Risson

An Essay in: TEXT Special Issue 24: Cookbooks: writing, reading and publishing culinary literature in Australasia (eds) Donna Lee Brien and Adele Wessell, October 2013

by

Toni Risson

Bibliographical note:


Dr Toni Risson’s research interests focus on popular culture. Food, in particular, provides opportunities to explore topics as diverse as cookbooks, Greek migrants, shops, children’s birthday cakes and beer. Toni’s doctoral thesis on children’s consumption of lollies identifies key Australian confectioners and reveals hitherto unexplored aspects of Australian children’s culture.

After producing Aphrodite and the Mixed Grill: Greek Cafés in Twentieth-Century Australia (2007), her enduring interest in the singularly Australian phenomenon known as the Greek café turns here to the influence of Greek migrants on Australian cuisine. Toni is Food Area Chair of the Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealand.

Souvlakia’s journey: a Greek-Australian food odyssey.

Abstract


From the days of the gold rushes, migrants have brought to Australian tables foods from all over the world. Amid the smorgasbord of dishes from Italy, China, and India, however, Greek cuisine is underrepresented. Even today, Greek dishes are less likely than pizza or Asian stir fry to be cooked in Australian kitchens and Greek restaurants are less prevalent than those of other ethnic communities.

This article uses cookbooks of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s to chart the relatively slow progress of Greek cuisine across the Australian culinary landscape, and community cookbooks, personal recipe books and personal interviews to provide further insights about the meaning of ‘Greek food’ and about the real impact of Greek cooks on Australian cooking. The influence of Greek cuisine may be less obvious than that of Chinese and Italian cuisine, but it is evident in methods of preparation, rituals of consumption, the use of lemon juice and olive oil, and the desire for simple fresh ingredients – these factors comprise the essence of true Greek food.

Australia is a culinary league of nations, and this is due partly to immigration. If pioneers dined on Slippery Bob (kangaroo brains) and the likes of Fricassee of Cockatoo and pitchcocked Opossum when food was scarce, early colonists generally maintained British traditions and culinary practices (Daunton-Fear & Vigar 1977: 6).

According to Richard Daunton-Fear and Penelope Vigar, a ‘gastronomic revolution’ began when the world flocked to the goldfields in the 1850s: ‘On the diggings, side by side with the sturdy English-style pubs and eating-houses, arose establishments catering for other nationalities. Australians tasted for the first time such dishes as spaghetti and chop suey, and saw how foreigners prepared their food’ (1977: 15).

Greeks joined the gold rush and, like Chinese and Italian migrants, had a significant impact on Australia’s food industry. In the 1880s, they began operating oyster saloons and refreshment rooms, and their province soon spread to confectioneries, fish shops, fruit shops, cafés, milk bars, and, ultimately, takeaways. Even in the 1980s, when they represented less than 2 per cent of the total population, Greek Australians owned one third of all takeaway shops in Australia (Collins et al. 1995: 44-45, 63-65, 82-3).

Despite this, Greek cuisine was not evident in home kitchens and urban restaurants until the 1970s, and Greek restaurants are still uncommon in country towns. Cookbooks of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s offer a means of charting the relatively slow progress of Greek cuisine as it ventured across the Australian culinary landscape, and of understanding some of the nuances of its journey to our tables. Trade books document the way in which continental recipes were represented, where publishers believed people’s interests lay, and what Australians may have eaten, and community cookbooks, personal recipe books and interviews provide further insights.

Compared with other ethnic cuisines, Greek food was slow to penetrate Australian culture. The British Raj exposed the English to curry. Tinned spaghetti was one of the first items Heinz produced when it began manufacturing in Australia in 1935, and pizza and spaghetti became so widely accepted that Australia’s first Pizza Hut opened in 1970. Australians frequented Chinese café/restaurants in capital cities from at least the 1950s, and most rural towns have long boasted a Chinese café. Australians accepted what they called ‘chop suey’ cuisine and embraced takeaway spring rolls and dim sum, and the 1960s saw the rise of Chinese chefs and cooking classes (Shun Wah & Aitken 1999: 11, 14, 53). Hostesses concocted ‘Chinese’ dishes with jars of Golden Circle’s Sweet ‘n’ Sour Pineapple and recipes from The Golden Circle tropical recipe book (1963).

Melbourne has a large Greek community, but few of the Greek shops in Lonsdale Street operated prior to 1970; the proprietor of Tsindos Restaurant recalls only four or five restaurants at that time. It would be another 30 years before a Souvlaki Hut appeared.

From the 1920s to the 1960s, Greeks cafés thrived in every city and country town in the Eastern states, but they were synonymous with mixed grills and milkshakes, and their widespread success delayed the progress of Greek restaurants. Greeks did not serve Greek food; they catered instead to British-Australian taste and the gustatory aspiration of ‘meat ‘n’ three veg’ (Risson 2007).

Greek proprietors, known as ‘dagos’, claim that they served ‘Aussie tucker’ because they ‘wouldn't have made a penny’ otherwise and would have been ‘lynched’ for offering something like spinach pie (Growing up in Greek cafés 2004). One-time ‘cafe kid’ Con Castan claims that serving Greek food ‘was inconceivable until about [30] years ago; no self respecting Australian would touch ethnic of any kind’ (Growing up in Greek cafés 2004). Thus, the migrants who were likely to introduce Greek cuisine were busy employing American food-catering technologies like the soda fountain and the milk bar and popularising American foods like ice cream and hamburgers (Janiszewski & Alexakis 2003: 2).

The Greek café is implicated in the fact that Australians knew little of spanakopita and tzatziki until relatively late in the twentieth century.

Read the remainder of the article by viewing / downloading a copy of Souvlakia’s journey: a Greek-Australian food odyssey, in its entirety, here:

Souvlakia's Journey A Greek-Australian food odyssey.pdf

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by The Australian Newspaper on 03.11.2014

Melbourne illustrator Eamon Donnelly preserves the suburban milk bar

The AUSTRALIAN September 20, 2014

Kylar Loussikian
Journalist
Sydney

Photograph: One of the last of a dying institution. Illustration. Eamon Donnelly.

It all started for Eamon Donnelly when he revisited the fondly remembered milk bar of his childhood, in Geelong.

Ten years ago, Melbourne illustrator Eamon Donnelly decided to revisit his childhood home in suburban Geelong and take one last peek through the back fence.

Once in Geelong, remembering life in the 1980s, he decided to see if his old corner store was still in business. “Going to the milk bar was my first taste of independence as a kid. I’d go with a pocket full of copper coins and come back with ice creams and milkshakes,” he says.

“I just remember this amazing Aladdin’s cave of food and smell and colour.”

But Donnelly’s neighbourhood milk bar — Hawking’s Corner Store, run by David and Peggy Hawking and their family — was gone, replaced by a boutique real estate agency.

“There were a few old tin newspaper signs on the side of the building, but they'd jackhammered away 50 years of hand-painted advertising.

“As an artist, it appealed to me and I took a photo of it. Then I started to wonder what the other milk bars in Geelong had become.”

Over a decade Donnelly collated hundreds of photographs of suburban corner stores and milk bars into a book. The response to that led to a commission for him to create the banners that have begun to be hung around Sydney as part of the Art +About festival.

And while some closed corner stores have met their end at the hands of developers and buyers who wanted to build something new, hundreds of others lay derelict or are still in business. Others have become family homes, prized for their uniqueness. But they aren’t easy to find.

After a fruitless search for corner stores on the market, it turned out that The Australian’s national arts correspondent, Michaela Boland, was looking to sell her converted inner-Melbourne property. Last sold in 2010 for $836,000, the former Victorian corner store at 1 Waltham Street, Flemington, has three bedrooms and a large yard and has been renovated. The sale is being handled by Lou Rendina, of Rendina Real Estate, who says corner stores can become showcase homes because of their quirkiness, including old veranda posts. The 204sq m property is expected to fetch more than $900,000.

Rendina recently sold a much larger corner store in nearby Kensington, at 168 Bellair Street, which was the first property in the suburb to fetch $1 million when Rendina sold it a decade ago. The 1891 building set a new suburb record recently, selling for more than $2m.

A 310sq m site of historical significance, the building was originally the Kensington Property Exchange, with an adjoining residence known as Islington, both designed for local realtor James Wales. The real estate chamber has the original joinery, fixtures and ornamentation, and, as Rendina excitedly says, “it has a turret”.

Rendina, who works mainly in Kensington and neighbouring Flemington, says the suburb has undergone a shift, with young professionals moving in.

He says 200sq m is a good-size parcel in the area, and the real drawcard is the booming Wellington Street precinct in Flemington.

“The quality of restaurants has gotten better, there is a real village community, and a lot of professionals have been drawn to the area because the Melbourne CBD is only five kilometres away, and two large hospitals are nearby, so that brings in a lot of doctors and nurses,” he says.

Elsewhere, particularly in regional towns, corner stores remain an important part of the community.

In Armidale, Luke Fahy and Peter Georkas are selling the lease on 80 Rusden Street, an operating corner store and residence with a walk-in, walk-out price of $35,000.

Fahy says the property is nearly 70 years old, and has always operated as a small business, although he points out there have been renovations, most recently eight years ago when stainless steel splashbacks and a new deep fryer were added.

“It’s about two blocks from Armidale’s CBD, so there are a number of surrounding businesses like accountants, banks, a gym and car yards,” he says.

“This shop is unique because it borders a business area and a residential area. The demographics are mixed in the residential side from young families to a well-established older community.

“It’s a local institution. The business has been around for a long time and everybody knows of it, and it’s a rewarding job with the perks of being your own boss,” he says.

The shop and three-bedroom house rents for $431 a week.

In Geelong, Donnelly says he was eventually contacted by the daughter of Dave, the proprietor of his local milk bar, when she saw the book he ­released.

“I've seen some incredible old milk bars. One had an incredible old Streets Cornetto sign, still there. Everyone loves Vegemite and Streets and Four’N Twenty, and corner stores sit in the same vernacular as those iconic brands.

“It’s one of those purely Australian things, a suburban thing,” he says. “Everyone has a fond memory of a milk bar.”

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by The Land, Newspaper on 10.10.2014

Australian cuisine owes much to Greek cafes

PETER AUSTIN

Peter Austin is a former editor and long time columnist and property writer for The Land

The Land 03 Oct, 2014

Photograph: Mr Pippos with young customers in 2008

What a double whammy of bad news it was for the good folk of Brewarrina in the August 28 edition of The Land.

The cover story, featuring a picture of local grazier Ed Fessey with the Premier, Mike Baird, concerned the ongoing drought gripping the North West, and the inadequacy of government assistance under the new, and somewhat laughable "drought preparedness" funding arrangements.

But then on page five we read of the more poignant disaster visited upon Brewarrina: the fire that engulfed and consumed the town's truly iconic main street landmark, the Café de Luxe of Angelo and Margie Pippos.

Since then, readers from all over have come out of the woodwork via letters and Facebook posts to pay tribute to the Pippos family and to recall times spent in this worthy establishment.

To which I add my own: as readers of my book would be aware, I spent the drought year of 1965 in Brewarrina, and many a scorching, dusty day was only made bearable by the balm of a cooling lemon squash from Angelo's soda fountain.

If a commercial traveller were visiting, we might use the excuse to join him (never "her", in those days) for lunch at the café, where a generous meal of steak or a mixed grill would usually obviate the need for an evening meal.

Country families in town for the day would likewise descend on the café for lunch (or "dinner", as country folk tend to describe the midday meal, regardless of its composition), where they could be sure of bumping into friends from in or out of town.

It was a similar story in country towns across eastern Australia: the "Greek café" by the 1960s was firmly established as the gastronomic centre and daytime meeting-place of rural communities.

It was Angelo's father, George Pippos, who opened the Café de Luxe in 1926.

He was one of the generation of Greek immigrants in the early 20th century who between them revolutionised Australian "eating out" habits.

In an interview broadcast on ABC's Radio National only weeks before the fire, Angelo Pippos reflected on a working life spent catering to the gastronomic needs of an outback, mixed-race country town.

He said the meals they served were more American-style than European, mostly steak and eggs and mixed grills - "I tried introducing Greek food a couple of times but people didn't like it."

How tastes have changed!

From Brewarrina, with its one (albeit highly distinguished) Greek café, I moved in 1966 to Crookwell, which at that time boasted no fewer than four such establishments, all of them doing a brisk trade.

Only one remains today under its original Greek family ownership.

At the north-western end of the shire, about 50 kilometres from Crookwell, the tiny village of Bigga depended on its single Greek café-cum-general store, owned - as it still is today - by the Faros family.

The nearby regional centre of Goulburn, then being a highway city, likewise had numerous Greek cafés in the 1960s, although none of the others held a candle to the cavernous Paragon, which thrives to this day, still in Greek family hands (though different ones to its 1940s founder).

The unfortunate term "fast food" had not then been coined, and dining was a more leisurely and civilised business than grabbing a bag of take-away fodder from the likes of a McDonalds or KFC to gobble on the run.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to George Pippos and his countrymen, and their descendants, for bringing a welcome draught of Mediterranean culture, hospitality and gentility to rough and tough rural Australia.

It was reported following the Café de Luxe fire that Angelo and Margie Pippos were considering rebuilding on the same site.

Generations of customers past and present can only hope they do - for Bre's sake.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by The Australian Newspaper on 10.10.2014

My beautiful cafe: the Greek tradition that united a town

ANDREW PIPPOS

THE AUSTRALIAN AUGUST 26, 2014


THE Cafe De Luxe in Brewarrina was one of the last of its kind.

Not so long ago, there were Greek-Australian cafes in every other country town in NSW and southern Queensland. They were an institution, too, in the main streets of the cities. The term “cafe” can be misleading: these had more in common with US diners than coffee shops of today, or the fish-and-chip shops of the 1980s.

On Sunday night the Cafe De Luxe — built in 1926 and run by my uncle Angelo — was razed. The Pippos house adjoining the business was also destroyed. Angelo Pippos said yesterday: “I’m devastated ... This is the only home I’ve ever known.”

My grandparents Thalia and George, migrants from the island of Ithaka, owned cafes in Mungindi, Goondiwindi, Dirranbandi and Brewarrina in western NSW. By the late 1970s, only the Cafe De Luxe in Brewarrina was left in the family, and the cafe institution at large was an endangered species.

The Greek-Australian cafes have mostly disappeared because they were never meant to last. The cafes were designed to produce middle-class children, like me. The destruction of the Cafe De Luxe is an unseemly end to this tradition.

The beautiful art-deco in­teriors, the scales for lollies, the silverware, the saloon doors, the soda fountains, the booths, the jukeboxes, the quirky signs (“Our Motto: cleanliness and civility”) — it’s sad to see these institutions destroyed, first by time, now by fire.

Some historians suggest the Greek-Australian cafe was a “Trojan horse” on the main streets of early and mid-20th century Australia, bringing American food culture to town. There may be something in this, but the mixture of British, American and Mediterranean influences made for a very pointed Australian institution, especially in the bush where cafes were often the only places open seven days a week, 7am until late.

In Brewarrina, the De Luxe was the heart of an often-troubled town. It was a place where everyone — Anglo, indigenous, Euro­pean, Asian — sat down together for a meal. Customers will remember what the old cafes didn’t offer: there was no Greek food. The mixed grill and T-bone steak were preferred, and everything came served on oversized, oval plates. For dessert, you ordered a sundae.

But at the De Luxe, for Sunday lunch, the extended family pushed tables together and my grandmother would serve the food she loved as a girl in Greece: meatballs in egg and lemon sauce, stuffed tomatoes, fish in currants and vinegar, all the salads — the dishes packed like wedges on the table.

One final memory: at the back of the De Luxe there was an enormous olive tree, about 6m high, which somehow had thrived in the outback soil. As a boy I spent hours in that tree, and if you climbed to the top you could see across the main street of Brewarrina, over the houses, down to the river, where the town returned to the bush.

The olive tree, now dead, is almost too obvious a symbol for the Greek-Australian cafe institution: these businesses nurtured something new in our towns, they thrived, they had their time, and now they are almost all gone.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by The Land, Newspaper on 10.10.2014

Fire claims historic Brewarrina cafe

JESSIE DAVIES

The Land, 25 Aug, 2014

Photographic: Aftermath of Cafe De Luxe blaze.

It's been the heart of the community for a long time, and it's such a shock to see it go

Brewarrina locals are mourning the loss of their iconic Cafe De Luxe which was destroyed by fire on Sunday night.

Unchanged since it first opened its doors in 1926, the Cafe was a gem to both locals and tourists, who enjoyed sodas, thick shakes and conversation in its wooden booths.

A blaze tore through the 88-year-old cafe on Brewarrina's main street around 8pm, destroying the original building which included the residence of the cafe's owners, Angelo and Margie Pippos, along with the adjoining vacant building, which once housed the town's pharmacy.

The exact cause of the fire is under investigation.

Cafe De Luxe was built by Mr Pippos' father, George, following his emigration from Greece.

Specialising in house made lemon, orange and pineapple squashes, it was one of the earliest soda parlours in Australia that had been Greek-run since its establishment.

Brewarrina Shire Council general manager Dan Simmons said the loss of the business is a huge blow to the people of Brewarrina.

"It's been the heart of the community for a long time, and it's such a shock to see it go," Mr Simmons said.

"Everyone came down to see it happen when they heard about it; there would have been a couple of hundred of them all outside in their pyjamas watching it burn; it just got away so quickly nothing could be done.

"Angelo had lived his whole life out the back of that cafe, and it really is one of those stories of immigrants coming out and making a great contribution to the community.

"We do have two other spots to go and eat during the day but it's going to be pretty hard to replace."

The community was preparing to help the Pipposes to resettle in temporary accommodation, he said.

Reader Comments:

Dr Toni Risson

Such sad news - a loss to the Pippos family, the Brewarrina community and the Australian people. So few Greek cafes remain as a testament to the enormous role Greek proprietors played in the social fabric of this country. Queensland lost the Laconia Cafe in Chinchilla to the floods in 2011; now we have lost the wonderful Cafe de Luxe in Brewarrina. I cannot imagine what this must mean to someone who has spent the greater part of his life behind that counter. If it helps, Angelo; I share your loss . Toni

Theresa Grant

So sad to see such a beautiful place destroyed. I have wonderful memories of going there regularly as a child 40 years ago, as did my parents when they were children at Bre. My Dad Kevin Grant turned 80 in February. It was such a centre of the community as will be sorely missed. Angelo and Margie, I'm sorry for your loss.

Anita

Will always remember going there after Sunday School to get a treat before going home. And visiting the café every time I made it back to Bre to visit family. Playing the juke box. Back then it was 45s. And sitting in the cubicles.

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by The Land, Newspaper on 10.10.2014

Fire claims historic Brewarrina cafe

JESSIE DAVIES

The Land, 25 Aug, 2014

Photographic: Brewarrina's iconic Cafe De Luxe ablaze.

It's been the heart of the community for a long time, and it's such a shock to see it go

Brewarrina locals are mourning the loss of their iconic Cafe De Luxe which was destroyed by fire on Sunday night.

Unchanged since it first opened its doors in 1926, the Cafe was a gem to both locals and tourists, who enjoyed sodas, thick shakes and conversation in its wooden booths.

A blaze tore through the 88-year-old cafe on Brewarrina's main street around 8pm, destroying the original building which included the residence of the cafe's owners, Angelo and Margie Pippos, along with the adjoining vacant building, which once housed the town's pharmacy.

The exact cause of the fire is under investigation.

Cafe De Luxe was built by Mr Pippos' father, George, following his emigration from Greece.

Specialising in house made lemon, orange and pineapple squashes, it was one of the earliest soda parlours in Australia that had been Greek-run since its establishment.

Brewarrina Shire Council general manager Dan Simmons said the loss of the business is a huge blow to the people of Brewarrina.

"It's been the heart of the community for a long time, and it's such a shock to see it go," Mr Simmons said.

"Everyone came down to see it happen when they heard about it; there would have been a couple of hundred of them all outside in their pyjamas watching it burn; it just got away so quickly nothing could be done.

"Angelo had lived his whole life out the back of that cafe, and it really is one of those stories of immigrants coming out and making a great contribution to the community.

"We do have two other spots to go and eat during the day but it's going to be pretty hard to replace."

The community was preparing to help the Pipposes to resettle in temporary accommodation, he said.

Reader Comments:

Dr Toni Risson

Such sad news - a loss to the Pippos family, the Brewarrina community and the Australian people. So few Greek cafes remain as a testament to the enormous role Greek proprietors played in the social fabric of this country. Queensland lost the Laconia Cafe in Chinchilla to the floods in 2011; now we have lost the wonderful Cafe de Luxe in Brewarrina. I cannot imagine what this must mean to someone who has spent the greater part of his life behind that counter. If it helps, Angelo; I share your loss . Toni

Theresa Grant

So sad to see such a beautiful place destroyed. I have wonderful memories of going there regularly as a child 40 years ago, as did my parents when they were children at Bre. My Dad Kevin Grant turned 80 in February. It was such a centre of the community as will be sorely missed. Angelo and Margie, I'm sorry for your loss.

Anita

Will always remember going there after Sunday School to get a treat before going home. And visiting the café every time I made it back to Bre to visit family. Playing the juke box. Back then it was 45s. And sitting in the cubicles

Photos > Cafes, Shops & Cinemas

submitted by Greek-Australian Cafe Culture on 10.10.2014

Café De Luxe, Brewarrina - outback NSW

The Café De Luxe was opened in 1926 by George Pippos, and 83yrs later his son Angelo and wife Margie Pippos are still carrying on the traditions from 1926.

Located at 87 Bathurst Street, Brewarrina NSW, 2839; it tragically burnt down on

The original advertising for the cafe included:

"When you step through the cafe’s doors you're hit with the true colors of the outback’s friendly surroundings and our friendly staff.

Come in from a weary day of travel or a hard day at work or even just if you’re passing by. Try our homemade hand cut chips (the only potato cut chips in Australia.) Our mouth watering mixed grills, T-Bone Steaks, famous fish and homemade Lemon, Orange and Pineapple squashes".