By Vasilis Vasilas.
Whether it was returning home from a football match, a concert or clubbing, who has not had a craving for a yeeros? Whether it was evening or in the early hours of the morning, everyone knew that one shop was always open and had the most hearty, delicious yeeros in Sydney…and that was Victoria Yeeros! Situated on the corner of Marrickville and Victoria Roads, this busy eatery complimented the bustling thoroughfare.
Paul Moumoutzakis has owned one of Sydney’s gastronomic “institutions”, Victoria Yeeros, for almost thirty years; people’s tastes may change, Marrickville’s demographics have changed but Victoria Yeeros’ popularity as Sydney’s best yeeros shop, remains strong as ever!
Paul migrated to Australia in 1971; after working in factories for a couple of years, he found work in Yiannis Diamaheros’ yeeros shop on Illawarra Road, Marrickville. Dreaming of running his own shop, Paul and his wife, Eleni, relocated their young family to Melbourne where they ran a fish and chips shop. It did not take long before they returned to Sydney and Paul and Eleni bought Rosebery Yeeros; after a couple of years, they opened Campsie Yeeros. Selling Campsie Yeeros, the Moumoutzakis family holidayed in Greece; upon their return to Sydney, an opportunity arose to buy the yeeros shop on Victoria Road, Marrickville, in 1990. Paul has been running it ever since…
After all these decades, the long queues during dinner hours and the continual flow of customers throughout the night merely highlights customers’ expectation they are getting a gastronomic sensation at Victoria Yeeros.
Just how confident Paul is about the deliciousness of his product, Vasilis asked him about any changes to the Victoria Yeeros’ menu over the years, to which Paul replied, ‘We use the same herbs and spices for our yeeros, whether beef, chicken and lamb, and make it the same way as for the last three decades! If our product is so satisfying to our customers, why change anything? Over the years, our customers are so content with our menu, there has been no need to change it or introduce new products. We provide a high- quality product and our customers keep coming back.’ Such is the reputation of Victoria Yeeros that customers travel great distances to eat at Victoria Yeeros.
As Paul recounts, so many customers often crave for yeeros, ‘So many Australian expatriates return to Sydney and they come to have our yeeros because they missed the taste of them while they were overseas.’
There is a great story Paul that highlights how an eatery such as Victoria Yeeros impacted and changed people’s tastes; with the influx of Vietnamese migrants settling in Marrickville in the mid 1980s, they would come into Victoria Yeeros and order hamburgers. Paul began sampling yeeros meat to these Vietnamese customers and it did not take long before their orders for hamburgers changed into orders for yeeros. A simple narrative of far- reaching consequences; as Greek foods were becoming more and more accepted by the broader community, Victoria Yeeros was at the forefront of this movement.
After all these years, Victoria Yeeros is still a socio-gastronomic institution in Sydney; as Vasilis states, ‘Victoria Yeeros’ success goes well beyond the Greek community; it played a significant role in introducing yeeros to the broader community and drew so many people of different nationalities to its unique taste. You have to admire how shops like Victoria Yeeros transcend time and people. It is an incredible story!’