The food of fantasy

Greek cafés and milk bars

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution


During the twentieth century Greek-run cafés, milk bars, soda and sundae parlours and oyster saloons became iconic food-catering enterprises where many Australians, in both rural and urban settlings, met often, ate regularly, and at times, partied hard. To their customers, Greek cafés and milk bars would have seemed to be an essential part, and very much pleasurably so, of their daily lives – a place where life seemed better, richer and fuller. In terms of food products, commercial packaging ideas, marketing concepts, technology, architecture, and their association with cinema and popular music, these Greek-run enterprises were essentially selling a dream – an American dream. Sodas, milkshakes, ice cream sundaes, milk chocolates and later hamburgers, were offered as all-important food elements within the aspirational fantasy of being able to enjoy American popular culture. This paper focuses upon the conscious melding of food and fantasy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication22nd Symposium of Australian Gastronomy
Subtitle of host publicationThe Art and Science of Food and Drink
EditorsPaul Van Reyk
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2019
EventSymposium of Australian gastronomy (22nd: 2018) - Western Sydney University, Parramatta, Australia
Duration: 16 Nov 201819 Nov 2018


ConferenceSymposium of Australian gastronomy (22nd: 2018)

Bibliographical note

Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Greek cafes
  • Greek milk bars
  • cultural heritage
  • food history
  • Australian history popular culture
  • architectural design
  • soda fountains
  • milkshakes
  • cinema
  • Rock music--Australia--Anecdotes
  • Americanisation

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The food of fantasy: Greek cafés and milk bars'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Janiszewski, L., & Alexakis, E. (2019). The food of fantasy: Greek cafés and milk bars. In P. Van Reyk (Ed.), 22nd Symposium of Australian Gastronomy: The Art and Science of Food and Drink