Melbourne’s oldest restaurant is Florentino (est.1928), if you count restaurants opened on the same site, serving the same cuisine under the same name. The oldest continuously running restaurant (as far as I could find) is Cuckoo Restaurant in Olinda (est.1958) which took over the site from Quamby (est.1914). Even though they’re important to local cuisine, I’m not counting pubs. The oldest is the Duke of Wellington (est.1853) but it’s unclear if it has had a kitchen for that long.
Can you make generalisations about who will last a quarter of a century in the restaurant business? Is there a recipe for success in Melbourne?
Name yourself Jim and serve any cuisine at all as Jim’s Greek Tavern, Jimmy Watson’s (Italian), Jim Wong (Chinese) all attest. As for location, get in on Lygon Street and serve affordable Italian food, or as close to Parliament House as possible. Public servants obviously like to eat.
As for what to serve, it doesn’t seem to matter a great deal. The quarter century industry survivors run the gamut from some the world’s finest dining to unmitigated shit. There’s not any clear pattern as to what price point or level of service guarantees longevity. What does guarantee it is that they’re almost all family-friendly. If you go to any of them for a weekend lunch, I’d bet there would be more than one high chair. This is a list of restaurants where people went as children and still return as adults.
Here’s the list from the map: all of Melbourne’s restaurants older than 25 years as of today. Huge thanks to eatnik, essjayeff, stickifingers, mysecondhelping and dananikanpour for all the suggestions.
I’m sure that there are a large number missing: almost every suburban fish and chip shop will be 25 years old by now. It also omits chain restaurants. The first McDonalds opened in Melbourne (Glen Waverly) in 1973 and by 1982, there were 33. In the same year, there were 35 Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets. Burger King set foot in town in 1986. Also a word of caution about the opening years: they’re not necessarily exact. Quite a few were gleaned from reviews where they mention that a restaurant has “been open for more than 30 years” without mentioning an exact date.
If you know of any missing, comment below.
|Bedi's Indian Restaurant||1980||Indian|
|Brunetti - Carlton||1985||Italian|
|Cafe Di Stasio||1989||Italian|
|Caffe e Cucina||1988||Italian|
|Casa Del Gelato||1980||Italian|
|Dragon Boat Restaurant||1986||Chinese|
|Dunyazad Lebanese Restaurant||Lebanese|
|Flower Drum Restaurant||1975||Chinese|
|Gaylord Indian Restaurant||1985||Indian|
|Golden Orchids Malaysian Restaurant||1979||Malaysian|
|Hanabishi Japanese Restaurant||1988||Japanese|
|Jim Wong Restaurant||1968||Chinese|
|Jimmy Watson's Wine Bar||1935||Italian|
|Jim's Greek Tavern||1980||Greek|
|Kunis Japanese Restaurant||1977||Japanese|
|La Porchetta Carlton||1985||Italian|
|La Spaghettata Restaurant||1984||Italian|
|Masani Italian Restaurant||1984||Italian|
|Paris Go Bistro||French|
|Patee Thai - Fitzroy||1983||Thai|
|Pellegrini's Espresso Bar||1954||Italian|
|Penang Coffee House||1976||Malaysian|
|Shakahari Vegetarian Restaurant||1972||Vegetarian|
|Shark Fin Inn City||1980||Chinese|
|Stuzzichino Caffe Bar Spuntini||1987||Italian|
|Supper Inn Chinese Restaurant||Chinese|
|Tandoori Den Camberwell||1981||Indian|
|Isthmus of Kra||1989||Thai|
|The Old Paper Shop Deli||Caf|
|The Olive Tree||1971||Italian|
|The Waiters Club||1947||Italian|
|THY THY Restaurant||Vietnamese|
|Toto's Pizza House||1961||Italian|
|Vlado's Charcoal Grill||1964||Steak|