Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and since Uncle Bart Café opened in 2011, owner Chris Arhondonis says it has served as the “Cheers” of Black Rock, Victoria.
“We’re longstanding in the community – it will be 10 years this year. From the beginning, we’ve tried to make everyone feel at home when they come here,” Chris says. “A lot of people know each other or have met in here, networked, and became great friends. I introduce customers to each other that are in the same field. I’m like Nokia, I’m connecting people.”
After a lifetime in hospitality, working in his parents’ fish and chip shops as a kid and managing hotels in the United States as an adult, Chris was ready to put his stamp on things.
“I came back from the States and wanted to do my own thing, a little café where I could play my own music,” he says.
“I was looking for a café in the area and bought this one from operators that hadn’t been here long and were just serving coffee with toasties and bought-in cakes. I brought in a full menu with breakfast, lunch, and good coffee.”
Since early 2021, Uncle Bart has served the Crave blend from Veneziano Coffee Roasters, a coffee Chris likes for its “strong and bold” flavours.
“I wanted a coffee supplier that was consistent with their roasting and offered great support services. We’re just starting out really, but I’m already getting that from Veneziano,” he says.
Espresso is made using a La Marzocco Linea PB coffee machine and Mahlkönig EK43 and Mythos One grinders. Uncle Bart also serves a Greek-style coffee offering that Chris says is popular with a handful of regulars while paying homage to his heritage.
“There’s a few Greek things on the menu to go with my background. My mum makes a Revani lemon tea cake that’s been our biggest seller since day one,” he says.
“We also do a moussaka that’s very popular, a couple of homemade Greek biscuits, and a nice lamb Greek salad that’s a big seller as well.”
Even the café’s name pays homage to Chris’s background.
“I named it after my uncle, Bartholomew the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople – the leader of the Orthodox religion,” Chris says.
“He heard I call him Uncle Bart and thought it was funny, so I thought it’d be funny to call the café that too.”
607 Balcombe Road, Black Rock, Victoria, 3193
Open seven days 6am to 3pm
(03) 9589 2099