Cafe serves up rich family history
WHEN Brisbane couple Des and Faye Sakkas made a leisurely day trip to Warwick this week, they didn’t realise how much family history they would uncover.
Mr Sakkas decided to travel to Warwick to unearth the roots of his family’s history in Australia, who migrated from the small Greek island of Kythira.
Local hotspot the Belle Vue Cafe, which is celebrating its centenary this year, has a special significance to Mr Sakkas as he is the great-grandchild of the original owners Jim and Vreta Menegas.
The Menegas opened the cafe in 1910, one year before Mr Sakkas’ grandmother, one of six children, was born.
Over a burger and milkshake, the memories of stories from his mother came back to him.
Mr Sakkas believes his grandmother and her family lived above the cafe, with her brothers and sister working in the family business.
He has heard stories from his mother about his grandmother’s life in the Warwick region.
“They had this horse called Lady, and every now and then they would ride in the horse-drawn carriage for three days to visit family in Brisbane,” Mr Sakkas said.
Jim and Vreta Menegas later moved back to Greece with their six children after selling the business.
“It’s very strange that they would migrate here, then all move back again,” Mr Sakkas said.
His grandmother, mother and uncle moved back to Australia where they raised families of their own.
Current owner of the cafe Janis Sabur was more than happy to show the Sakkas couple the building, which is such a big part of their history as she too had stories to tell about the history behind the cafe.
“The name is the same as it was 100 years ago,” she said.
“When we took over from (Jim) Samios, he said he would be pleased if we kept it as the Belle Vue, so we did.”
As a rule, Mr Samios makes time every day to visit the cafe for his lunch, proving the sentimental value the building has.
Mrs Sabur said when they took over the business, the original oven from 1910 was still in the kitchen, which now sits at her family home.
Sadly, the Menegas children are deceased, but Des and Faye, with the help of other family members, are determined to remember the history they left behind.