Babajan, one of Carlton North’s best-known and most enduring cafes, closed for good last Friday.

“The last years have been very hard, with many challenges, both personally and for the business,” said owner and chef Kirsty Chiaplias on Instagram.

“We pushed as hard as we could through tram works, footpath works, the impact of floods and bushfires, Covid, rising costs, cost of living rises – but unfortunately the current economic downturn is the last straw.”

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The Turkish- and Middle Eastern-influenced cafe opened in 2016, and quickly established itself as one of the inner north’s favourite breakfast spots – it was hard for anyone cycling down Nicholson Street to resist the pull of its bureks, haloumi pies and sausage-stuffed pides.

When the pandemic struck, Babajan was one of the industry’s earliest movers – rapidly shifting its focus towards takeaway, implementing smooth online ordering, and tweaking the menu towards dishes that travelled well. During Melbourne’s staccato lockdown years, forays into separate CBD and Brunswick locations, ready-made meals, and catering were also made.

“We have attempted expansion and diversification in many areas,” Chiaplias said. “None of these have proven suffice [sic] for our continuance.”

Sadly, after more than seven years, last Friday was Babajan’s last day of trade.

“It is with huge sadness that I have decided to close the doors of Babajan,” said Chiaplias. “This was our last day and unfortunately we will not reopen.

“I will be forever deeply grateful for all the years in the community, and for the amazing people I have met along the way.”