Established in 1896, Stringers is a Sorrento institution. But summer 2021 marks a new era for the longstanding corner cafe on Ocean Beach Road: it’s changed hands.

After closing in September for construction, it will reopen later this year under the stewardship of the Darling Group, which in 2018 snapped up three iconic cafes from Nathan Toleman’s Mulberry Group stable: Higher Ground, Top Paddock and Kettle Black. It also owns Darling Cafe in South Yarra, Dundas & Faussett in Albert Park, and Bambu in South Melbourne.

In a historic limestone building, Stringers has served locals (and Peninsula weekenders) as a daytime-only cafe, deli, grocer and wine store for more than a century.

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But the iconic spot will be reborn as an all-day restaurant and bar, trading from breakfast to dinner. A Verona-imported pizza oven will turn out Neapolitan-style pies, from dough proved for 48 hours. Given its history as a providore, “We had to maintain that element,” says Darling Group marketing manager Chris Seoud – so there’ll also be an Italian deli and grocer (expect subs layered with imported cold-cuts, sliced to order), plus a well-stocked wine cellar with rare and big-ticket bottles, and its very own gelateria.

The bright, breezy re-fit – by Melbourne firm Chris Connell Design (Hero, Agostino, Bar Carolina) – will bring a more contemporary feel (and custom-designed furniture) to the much-loved space, while preserving its rich heritage.

Stringers is slated to reopen at 2–8 Ocean Beach Road, Sorrento this summer.