Greek Cafes and Milk Bars at Orange City Library

Historian and author Leonard Janiszewski entertained and informed a large audience of 50 guests at Orange City Library on Thursday evening about the transatlantic history of oyster saloons, their development into soda and sundae parlours and cosmopolitan cafes as well as milk bars.

He said prior to the explosion of American fast-food franchises, Greek cafes contributed to a major change in Australian eating habits.

While a traditional mixed grill remained a favourite, Greek cafes were known for their introduction of American sodas, ice-cream sundaes, milkshakes, hamburgers, milk chocolate and hard sugar candies, into communities right across Australia.

Leonard and photographer Effy Alexakis bring the era of Greek cafes and milk bars vividly to life in their book Greek Cafes and Milk Bars of Australia.