Tucked away from the chaos of Punt Road and the bustle of Bridge Road, Rowena Parade Corner Store is a local treasure that has been providing the Richmond community with their daily newspaper, milk and bread since 1956. And there’s no sign of them stopping anytime soon.
When current owner Con Coustas took the reins in 2004, he sought to extend their offerings to simple but soulful cafe fare. The interior has gone through a number of restorations, while still hanging on to the store’s vintage charm and Mediterranean influences. The Santorini feature wall, which Coustas explains was originally affixed as a temporary and ‘kitsch’ addition, has become an iconic part of the cafe.
From the kitchen, you can expect a variety of cafe staples with a Mediterranean twist, including paninis, ciabattas and burgers served on Turkish bread from the Abbotsford Convent. For breakfast, you can’t ignore the evolution of ‘The Perfect BLT’ from the classic combo all the way to the mighty B.E.L.T.A.C (add in an egg, avocado and cheese). Greek specialties such as the plaki (which translates to ‘giant beans’) and spanakoptia are also not to be overlooked.
With a spacious back room and a quaint courtyard painted in traditional white and blue, the Corner Store has a variety of spaces, while Coustas’ custom made sliding stepladder recalls grocery stores of a long, lost past. Kids can still come in and stuff themselves silly from a huge range of lollies, but they may need a few extra dollars than in the 1950s.
The Rowena Parade Corner Store is a much-loved local favourite and will be for years to come.