Old loves sometimes die hard, but for the typically straight-shooting Renata Roberts a girlish crush on a boy named Stavros is simply inspiration for a new venue.
“When I lived in Melbourne I had a crush on a Greek guy called Stavros and I never forgot him,” Roberts says, laughing. “I don’t know where he is now … But it’s a great name.”
Stavros the Greek is all about “having anything you want at any time,” Roberts says. Opening in early December, the restaurant will take an anything-goes approach to service, even if the “simple and authentic” menu will stick firmly to the rules.
“If you just want to come in for a beer and a glass of Ouzo, or if you want 20 souvlaki or a huge Greek banquet – it’s just whatever you want,” Roberts says.
“We’re not reinventing the wheel. The food is going to be beautiful and really fresh Mediterranean, lots of charring and blistering, house-fired pita bread and lots of dips, fish and seafood. We have this big, fat barbeque grill we’re going to cook everything on.”
Stavros continues Roberts’s friendly takeover of suburban Kenmore. The 100-seat-restaurant and bar is the first Greek offering to be added to an impressive list of casual eateries, and the third on Wongabel Street where she opened her initial incarnations of Sichuan Bang Bang and Pizzeria Violetta less than five years ago.
The venue is located in a large site previously occupied by an Indian spice market and like the original Stavros, Roberts says it will have a “very masculine” feel.
“It’s very big with five-metre-high ceilings,” she says. “Polished concrete, steel blues, rusty greys and lots of bottles of Ouzo lining the walls.
“I grew up in this sort of area and there is such a lack of authentic food on this side of town,” Roberts says. “When I first opened [Sichuan] Bang Bang people told me I was absolutely crazy, crackers mad, but the response was just overwhelming. I think people on this side of town have just been starved for anything fabulous, so let’s give it to them.”
Stavros the Greek is scheduled to open at 4 Wongabel Street, Kenmore in early to mid-December.