The modest brown-brick home at 550 Nicholson Street blends into the background on the Fitzroy North thoroughfare. But, for Hamish Vaccari, it’s filled with memories.
From the ’60s, it was home to his Nonna and Nonno, who ran a catering business out of the back garage. Hamish remembers watching his Nonno out the back – cooking, drinking VB long necks and teaching him how to make pasta and other Italian classics.
Hamish lost his Nonno when he was 16, and his Nonna in late 2022 – when she was 98. Not long after, he honoured their legacy by converting the garage into an Italian sub shop called Nonna’s House.
Naturally, the execution is as family-centric as the inspiration. Hamish, a former swimming-pool technician, lives in the house. And he runs the eatery with his dad, Vince (the maître d’, Hamish says, who’ll tell you all about the family history), and his uncle Patrick. It’s a full-circle moment for the Vaccari trio, cooking and sharing food – and stories – in a place where so many of their family memories were made.
Just like Hamish did as a kid, you’ll enter through the side gate on Brookes Crescent – look for the bright red “550”. Then you’ll order your sanga of choice at the garage window, kind of like the OG Rocco’s.
The meatballs in the signature sub are made from a family recipe that is more than 60 years old and hasn’t been written down, Hamish says. Four saucy orbs are lined up in a crisp sub-style roll and topped with a generous grating of parmesan.
There might also be a chicken (or eggplant) parma roll, or a pesto-mushroom number (the ’shrooms are stuffed with pesto Genovese, then double-crumbed and deep-fried). You’ll also find diamond-cut fries loaded with either rich bolognaise or creamy carbonara. Get yours to go, then take an easy walk to the nearby Eddie Gardens.
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