Jerry's Milk Bar
Despite the undeniable nostalgic charm of old-school milk bars, their numbers in metropolitan Melbourne are dwindling. Among them is Elwood institution Jerry’s, which has had a loyal following for a number of decades.
Its legacy didn’t save it from decline, though. Jerry’s shuttered during 2020's Covid lockdowns, leaving regulars fearful it was the end of an era for the Barkly Street spot. Luckily for them, though, Jordy Catalano, Oliver Gualano and Nick Forge took over the space and have returned it to its former glory.
Before the team got the keys, Jerry’s had been completely gutted and all relics placed in storage. The only things that had survived were Jerry's old-school mirrors and a few pendants. So the team had to put their own spin on the historic space.
They did away with the bright reds and yellows of its former life in favour of a sleek white fit-out with terrazzo tiles and touches of colour. Instead of vinyl chairs there are comfy leather banquettes. The speakers pump house tunes rather than jukebox hits.
The menu, which rotates regularly, has all the cafe classics: baked eggs, ricotta pancakes, an acai bowl. You'll usually find a few types of tacos and some paninis inspired by the owners' Italian heritage. The meatball sub and cotoletta are classically Italian, and there’s also a slow-cooked pulled-pork number with slaw. For vegetarians, there’s the Mediterranean, a roasted-veggie-packed panino that can be made dairy-free with vegan feta.
But despite all the changes, the team hasn’t forgotten all that Jerry’s heritage. Those classic thickshakes haven't gone anywhere.