Marios Cafe

Marios Cafe

Marios CafeMarios Cafe is an award winning, iconic Melbourne establishment on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.

Marios Cafe established 1986 at 303 Brunswick Streeet Fitzroy 3065.

Breakfast all day, delicious Italian cuisine and great coffee

This article is from the April 16 issue of The Age Digital Edition.

As the Romans do: iconic cafe Marios turns 30

Massimo Di Sora was born in the dead centre of Rome, within view of a famous fourth-century cathedral. He's nearly 60 now. '' Fifty-eight ,'' he says, cradling a short and thick black coffee. '' Or something like that.''

He is a waiter at Marios in Fitzroy, Melbourne's most iconic cafe. Di Sora was the first person owners Mario Maccarone and Mario De Pasquale employed and he has been there since. The cafe has been running for 30 years this month. The actual birthday on April 28 will be celebrated with 1986 prices for the day.

'' I don't want too much,'' Di Sora says, his English still very Roman. '' I just want job. This job very, very fair to me.''

When he started at Marios in 1987 he had learned a bit of English at his first job in Melbourne, at a pizza place in Carlton. But only the numbers: '' Pizza number three,'' he says. '' Pizza number eight.''

One of those had pineapple on it, which was a wake-up call. His mother Giovanna was a '' home cook"who ended up owning several small restaurants in Rome. His father, Vittorio, sold insurance but couldn't work after 45 because of health problems. So Di Sora and his three siblings had to help. When it got late, he would sleep on chairs. '' First two chairs, then three chairs,'' he says. He kept growing. '' Finally four chairs.''

Di Sora first came to Melbourne in 1981. Then he came back in 1986 and got married for the visa, but the marriage has never faltered. He lives with his Australian wife in Northcote; she bought him to Marios one day just after it opened. '' To get me a proper coffee,'' he says. He was offered a job. The place had only three tables. The whole back section wasn't there yet - it was still a coolroom from the original tenant, a butcher.

The two Marios opened the place - with another partner who left quickly - after working together at Miettas and Tsindos Bistrot. Mario Maccarone also worked up the road at the Black Cat, a bar and music venue.

With Rhumberallas, Bakers, hallowed venue the Punters Club and Marios, the '90s heyday of Brunswick Street was born.

Marios - unfussy Italian food, open late, breakfast all day, good coffee and pasta, art on the walls, no bookings, sharp waiters - became the centre. It still is, in a way, even though the strip has been gentrified and tidied up and a lot of cafes can struggle for business now.

'' The amazing thing is we are basically the same,'' says Mario Maccarone. '' Don't mess with what you have done right for 30 years.''

Chris Johnston

❊ Address & Contact ❊

Marios Cafe⊜ 303 Brunswick St, Fitzroy | Map
303 Brunswick St,Fitzroy
(03) 9417 3343

❊ Web Links ❊

Marios Cafe

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