Greek National Cafe Story

In the 1920s, our Grandparents left their homeland - the Greek island of Ithaca. They travelled through Australia and New Zealand, finally settling here in Napier. In 1928, they opened The National Cafe in Dickens Street.

They realised that Napier was not ready for authentic Greek food. And so it was that the city and the family along with it, grew up with what the locals wanted - seafood and grills simply prepared (see the selection of menus in the cabinet). After the 1931 earthquake, the family relocated to purpose-built premises in Emerson Street, designed by Louis Hay.

In 1960, the dining room was modernised by Natusch and Son, a move which further enhanced its similarity to an American diner. Sons Bill and Alec took responsibility for the restaurant from their Mother and successfully and faithfully ran the business until they retired in their 80s and Alec’s daughter bought the building. It was destined to be rented out as a shop, but community interest in the restaurant was strong and genuine. The building was revitalised and new ideas and experiences were injected into the existing business.

The Greek National Cafe now presents the famously healthy Mediterranean foods of our homeland, with freshly prepared produce in our beautifully restored dining room.


 

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