This long-awaited and beautifully designed book presents Australia’s Greek cafés and milk bars as a global phenomenon in the modern era. Food-catering enterprises run by Greek migrant/settlers successfully married Hellenic and cross-cultural influences with local needs. Greek-run cafés and milk bars populated Australian country towns and cities, merging local fare with new American food-catering ideas.
Prior to the explosion of American fast-food franchises, Greek cafés contributed to a major change in Australian eating habits. While a traditional mixed grill remained a favourite, Greek cafés were known for their introduction of American sodas, ice-cream sundaes, milkshakes, hamburgers, milk chocolate and hard sugar candies, into communities right across Australia.
Alexakis’ stunning photographs capture the decor of the cafés, their customers and the owners who worked hard to make their businesses successful. In harmony with Janiszewski’s text and oral history interviews, the era of Australia’s Greek cafés and milk bars is vividly brought to life.
Research undertaken throughout Australia and internationally highlights these catering enterprises as a ‘Trojan Horse’ for the Americanisation of Australian popular culture – not only affecting public eating habits, commercial food-catering ideas and technology, but also cinema, music and architecture. Throughout most of the twentieth century, Australia’s Greek cafés and milk bars were powerhouses generating unprecedented social and cultural change.
This definitive national publication brings together over 30 years of research culled from travels within four continents, selected from over 1,800 interviews and innumerable contemporary and historical photographs. Hundreds of Australia’s Greek cafés and milk bars are referenced within the book’s 256 pages.
The publication is a companion to the highly-popular and critically applauded touring exhibition Selling an American Dream: Australia’s Greek Café.