Over the past two decades, the delis that were once a staple of suburban Perth – essential stops on the way home from school for a bag of lollies or to pick up milk and bread – have been slowly and sadly disappearing. In their wake have come more big supermarkets and fast-food franchises. But baker Nathan Alexander (ex-North Street Store, Bagel O’s) and creative Hannah Budge are hoping to reverse the trend.

The Perth couple quietly opened Strollio’s Luncheonette in Tuart Hill in April. Part retail space and part cafe, it’s a concept Alexander has been tinkering with since 2014.

“We were always hoping to build that ‘third place’,” he tells Broadsheet. “Somewhere you can just drop in, drop out, have a chat with us, have a coffee and read a book.”

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Like Perth’s delis in their heyday, the sense of community is strong at Strollio’s. Despite only opening four weeks ago, the baristas know many regulars’ names and orders by heart; locals linger in booths made from refurbished bus seats; and those waiting for takeaway leaf through the pages of the day’s newspapers.

The menu favours comforting classics, with a tight list of unfussy yet well-executed sandwiches on bread baked in-store daily.

The tuna and artichoke melt – tuna, mayo, cheese and artichoke loaded with fresh herbs and spices on white bread – is already a fan favourite, as is the curried egg sandwich and Vegemite scroll. Eager to keep the cost down for customers, the menu offers a selection of simple toasties that all ring in at $7 or less.

“We’re doing what we can to keep things very affordable. We’re not about $25 sandwiches loaded with ridiculous garnishes. We just want to be a lunch bar where you can get a coffee and toastie without breaking the bank.”

A rotating range of pastries from Alexander’s oven amps up the nostalgia: freshly baked lemon meringue, key lime pie, crustless strawberry and cream sandwiches on brioche, and doughnuts.

In true corner-store style, customers can skip the supermarket and pick up milk, house-made bread, La Delizia Latticini cheese and eggs from Fremantle Egg Company with their morning coffee. Shelves down the centre of the space are stocked with toiletries, household essentials and sweets.

There are plans to add pancakes and milkshakes to the menu, whizzed in Alexander’s grandmothers ’70s Woodson milkshake machine.

The team is currently open till late on weekdays. “There [are] very few places to get a coffee after 2pm, so we’re looking to provide that afternoon pick-me-up,” Alexander says. “We keep the coffee machine on right up until we lock the doors at 5pm.”

Down the line, the team hopes to open till 5pm on Sundays – making this the perfect sunny spot to shoo away the Sunday scaries.

Strollio’s Luncheonette
68b Lawley Street, Tuart Hill

Hours:
Monday to Friday7am–5pm

@strollios_lunch