Greasy spoon dagoes: Sydney's Greek food-catering phenomenon, 1870s-1952
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Over the first-half of the twentieth century, Sydney’s Greeks became numerically prominent as food caterers and radically transformed the character of the city’s popular eating-houses. They introduced new American commercial food-catering ideas, technology and products and influenced the development of cinema, architectural style, and popular music along American lines. Greek-run oyster saloons, soda/sundae parlours, cafés and milk bars became powerful vehicles for socio-cultural change. Initially radiating out from within the city’s central business district to the east and south, by the early 1920s, Greek food-catering establishments were operating in the western suburbs, including Parramatta, and as far north as Hornsby. The profound changes that Sydney’s Greek food caterers engendered are explored, together with the personal vicissitudes of the food caterer’s themselves. Despite their commercial food-catering popularity, Sydney’s Greeks experienced racist attitudes that perhaps reinforced the safety of transferring aspects of modern American culture, rather than their own traditional cultural elements.
© 2019 the authors