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Spotlight on Greek cafes in Australia July 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World.

Inverell Greek cafés and their history will soon be showcased in an international touring exhibition.

Cafés such as Inverell’s former IXL Café and Monterey Café and the Australian Café, along with others from all over the country, will be featured in the exhibition Selling the American Dream: Australia’s Greek Cafés to be shown in Chicago, Washington, Canada, Canberra, Sydney and hopefully some regional centres.

Macquarie University’s historian Leonard Janiszewski and his partner and senior photographer Effy Alexakis, who are compiling the exhibition, hope the photographs and people’s stories can be enhanced by recollections from Inverell people who frequented the cafés.

“We want to know their stories – where they went, what they did there, what they ate and what the cafés looked like,” Mr Janiszewski said. “We want to know whether they went on their first date there or may have gone there for a Saturday treat.”

Mr Janiszewski said it was stories from the people who frequented the cafés that would make them come alive.

The duo has been researching Greek cafés and their affect on the Americanisation of Australia for a number of years, revealing a number of surprising discoveries.

Greek Americans who established the milk bars were responsible for introducing us to sweet, thick American icecream, the soda fountain, ‘spiders (more commonly known as icecream sodas), the juke box, many cinemas and a whole range of new decor styles.

The names also reflected the American origin of the cafés, with names such as ‘The Golden Gate’, ‘The Californian’ and ‘The Niagra’.

Mr Janiszewski said unfortunately the cafés which began as oyster saloons, made way for American giants such as McDonald’s and KFC which are now slowly running the few small country cafés still in existence out of business.

To contact Leonard Janiszewski and Effy Alexakis phone Macquarie University, (02) 9850 6886.

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