The Greek family story behind Clem’s chicken shop in Sydney

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Clem’s chicken shop is an legendary place at Newtown in Sydney. A place which has been named again and again as the area’s best takeaway, offers the most famous roast chicken and home-style meals, and has behind it, a story with Greek colour.

According to Daily Mail Australia, Clem’s was founded by Greek immigrants Despina and Kleanthis ‘Clem’ Tsakalides in 1982, and in the continuously changing suburb of Newtown, many of its 80s recipes are loved until this day.

Their son, Spiro Tsakalides, told Daily Mail Australia that Newtown was ‘seriously rough’ and a ‘no go zone’ for many in Sydney, but that didn’t stop his parents from spotting an opportunity for a chicken shop in the area.

Photo: Patricia Baillie / archives.cityofsydney

The place changed between 1990 and 2010 with redevelopment of pubs and new apartments.

“We see what is happening outside, we see the buzz of the place and more importantly, people can see us. They can see what we’re about,” Mr Tsakalides said.

Clem’s chicken shop celebrated its 41st anniversary on January 5 and won Sydney’s Inner West Small Business Awards ‘Best Fastfood/Takeaway’ for 2023 for a second consecutive year.

Mr Tsakalides’ mum Despina is still the heart of the shop. According to her, she and her husband stayed through all the ‘bad times’ when others would have given up.

“There was definitely a lot more good than there was bad. That’s why we’re still here,” she said.

Mr Tsakalides credited his parents’ work ethic for the shop’s success and hails his father’s will to help those in need inside the community, through the shop.

“Essentially, we’re just a shop from humble beginnings serving everyday people and we will continue to do so as best as we can,” he said.

Source: Daily Mail Australia.

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