Niagara's cafe culture on show in old shopfront

Now and then: The location of the Niagara Cafe as it stands now and young people who were in Blayney for a Methodist youth camp in the 50's.

Now and then: The location of the Niagara Cafe as it stands now and young people who were in Blayney for a Methodist youth camp in the 50's.

Long before the search for the perfect coffee became a national obsession, the humble cafe, often run by enterprising Greek immigrants, was the go to place to eat in most towns.

In Blayney that cafe was called the Niagara Cafe and for those wanting to take a trip down memory lane there is a new display in the window of the shop where the cafe once stood.

An initiative of the Blayney Town Association and the Blayney Family History Group, the project involves dressing vacant shop fronts in the main street with fantastic local history.

The Niagara Cafe had been operating in Blayney for about six years by the time Nick Psaltis, his wife, and daughter arrived in town in midway through 1931.

The previous owner was fellow Greek and Krytherian, Theo Charles Comino, who ran the cafe with his wife Stella.

As with many other businesses the depression years of the 1930s must have taken a toll on the Blayney business, as in 1932, Theo Charles Comino, ex-Restaurateur of Blayney was listed for bankruptcy.

Hard work by the family restored the run-down cafe to profit and by the time the Blayney Bowling Club was established in 1935, Nick Psaltis was in the position to employ local staff to work in the cafe, which gave him some leisure time, which he spent at the Blayney Bowling Club and became a well regarded bowler.

The next proprietor after Nick Psaltis, was Andree Angelo Cominos who was a single man when he arrived in Blayney towards the end of 1947.

After his marriage during the mid 1950s he was joined in the cafe by his wife Irene Demetrie Conomos. They too resided in the residence.

Andy and Irene remained in Blayney for over two decades before selling to Nick Tsigounis during the early 1970s.

In 1986 they sold both house and business and moved to Orange.

The Niagara Cafe building was then re-modelled, to incorporate three shops, one of which became a take-away food bar, thus maintaining the cafe culture begun by Theo Comino nearly 100 years ago.

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