Eleni’s Kitchen + Bar, was born out of a conversation within our immediate family, reminiscing about the good old days when our family owned a whole host of businesses in Yarraville. Among them the first Greek restaurant, opposite the “Sun Theatre,” in what is now known as the “Yarra Lounge!” In those days the “Sun Theatre,” screened Greek films on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. We thought, why not bring back traditional Greek food, back to Yarraville, where it all started….
Our family has a long history in the food and hospitality industry, being involved in a number of cafes and restaurants over the last 50 years. Beginning with the above mentioned restaurant. My father and uncles along with mum and our aunties worked feverishly to feed the ever growing Greek population in Melbourne. In addition, they offered catering for the many dinner dances that were held at the old “Sunday School” hall at Lennox Street. Greek migration was at its peak from the early sixties through to the seventies. Greek migrants sought out their compatriots and my father and uncle’s humble Greek restaurant in Yarraville opposite the theatre, became a hive of activity. Greek music blaring from the jukebox to all hours of the night. Many a Greek couple met at the restaurant, which became a landmark amongst Greeks in Melbourne, way before Yarraville became the restaurant and café precinct it is now!
My family has a long history and association with Yarraville. Our Great Grandfather was the founding Greek Orthodox priest of the “Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox
Church,” in Yarraville. He served the parish and the local community for 37 years, before he passed away in 2000. The restaurant, premised where the “Yarra Lounge,” is now situated was only the beginning. My family came to own many businesses in Yarraville. “Creative House,” was Uncle Nick’s Delicatessen, next door, “Little Advieh,” was Uncle Tony’s Pizza shop until he re-located around the corner into Anderson Street, next door again, “Café Terroni,” was Grandad’s Butcher Shop and next door again, l’uccellino’s was Uncle Nick’s coffee shop, all in a row!
Well, now its time for the next generation to make a comeback and continue the legacy…..