The Mavridis family – mother Martha, daughter Pelagia and son Chris – opened the warm and welcoming cafe, bakery and foodstore on the Kingsville side of Somerville Road in 2013.
The long-term Yarraville residents wanted to share their passion for Greek food with the wider community, starting with their homemade Greek pastries made with recipes passed down through generations of Greek women.
But you don’t have to be Greek to enjoy Olive Oil and Butter’s famous spanakopita, bougatsa and Easter tsoureki. In fact, most of their clientele are not Greek – just locals who love and appreciate what they do.
All the food is cooked with love from authentic recipes, made with high quality ingredients and without any shortcuts.
“For instance, we use handmade filo pastry in all of our spiral pastries (pitas),” explains Pelagia. “Our handmade filo is our signature; it’s so thin that it’s like see-through paper tissue. It takes a lot of work to hand make filo from scratch – and it’s hard to find people who do it, even in Greece!”
While Olive Oil and Butter promotes traditional Greek food, it also aims to bring a contemporary twist to classic Greek recipes. Pelagia’s favourite dish is a souvlaki with charred oyster mushrooms in a pita wrap.
“When people think Greek food, they think that lamb is all we have,” laughs Pelagia. “In fact, the Mediterranean diet involves a lot of vegetables and pulses, so we’re expanding our menu to include more vegetarian and vegan options.”
And in a city with so many Greek restaurants serving the largest Greek population in Australia, what makes Olive Oil and Butter so special?
“When people come to our store they know that we genuinely care about the food and we treat them like our family,” smiles Pelagia. “You can’t pay someone or train someone to care – it comes from the heart.”