The restoration of Australia’s last authentic Greek cafe in the New South Wales rural town of Gundagai is complete and a “soft opening” was held in early June.
The new owners of The Niagara Cafe have been trading Monday to Friday offering coffees and sweets to locals, with hopes to offer take-away meals and evening dining in the coming months.
Luke Walton and his partner Kym Fraser purchased the cafe from the Loukissas family in March last year after it had been on the market for a year and a half.
The cafe was established in 1902 by a Kytherian Greek, Strati Notara, and then continued with the Castrission family who installed the art deco interior and exterior in 1938.
The Loukissas family ran the cafe from 1983, making it the oldest Greek-run cafe and milk bar in Australia.
Now, with the renovations, many of the original art deco features have remained because the new owners said it was “vital to preserve them.”
“The key features of the place, the joinery and the main counter are from a 1938 fit-out,” Mr Walton told The Riot-Act.
Mr Walton also said he wants to make sure to celebrate the cafe’s unique heritage and make the venue into more of a tourist attraction.
“It was a community hub really – I think there were even wedding breakfasts and first communion breakfasts here – that’s what we’d like to see it become that again,” Mr Walton said.
“Gundagai is a very friendly town, so there’s a lot of travellers coming to stay. So I hope it is a mixture of both.”