Café Royal and Elite Café, Bundaberg

The Lathouras Brothers migrated to Australia from Alatsata in Asia Minor in 1906. By 1923 Jannos (Jack) Lathouras and his brothers, Michael and Mark, had opened two cafes in the main street of Bundaberg, Bourbong Street. Bundaberg was a thriving provincial Queensland town during the 1920s.

Group portrait with Mark Lathouras and others outside the Cafe Royal, Bundaberg. From 31387 Lathouras Brothers Elite Cafe and Cafe Royal Bundaberg photographs. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 31387-0001-0010

Jack Lathouras worked in several locations, including Melbourne, Brisbane and Ingham before joining his cousins, John and Steve Girdis in the Central Coffee Palace, 374 George Street, Brisbane. The two families were involved in several businesses together in the Brisbane CBD but by 1920, the Lathouras Bros relocated to Bundaberg to open two cafes, Cafe Royal at 86 Bourbong Street (opened in 1920) and and the Elite Cafe at 143 Bourbong Street (opened in 1923). Their living quarters were located above the spacious Café Royal.

Lathouras Brothers (L – R): standing Michael (Mick) Lathouras, Markos (Mark) Lathouras sitting (L- R) Jannos (Jack) Lathouras, on stool Demetrios (Jim) Lathouras. From 31387 Lathouras Brothers Elite Cafe and Cafe Royal Bundaberg Photographs, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 31387-0001-0002
Exterior of the Café Royal, 86 Bourbong Street. Bundaberg. From 31387 Lathouras Brothers Elite Cafe and Cafe Royal Bundaberg Photographs, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 31387-0001-0006

The families in Bundaberg were encouraged to socialise together. Sundays were spent with the Leondarakis (Londy) and Glous (Lewis) families. Harry, Peter and Manuel Lewis had taken over a café in Bourbong Street, the Marble Café, previously connected to the Cominos Bros – John, Theo, Arthur and Paul.

The Lathouras Brothers expanded their business by delivering ice-cream to households using a horse and cart and produced their own confectionery for sale through the cafés . These delightful treats were made on the premises at the back of the Café Royal in the “Lolly Room”.

The Elite operated under the Lathouras Bros until 1976.

Lathouras Brothers Ice Cream Carts, November 1924. From 31387 Lathouras Brothers Elite Cafe and Cafe Royal Bundaberg Photographs, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 31387-0001-0005
Elite Café, 143 Bourbong Street, Bundaberg after renovations in the 1960s. From 31387 Lathouras Brothers Elite Cafe and Cafe Royal Bundaberg Photographs, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. In copyright. Image 31387-0001-0001

Sources

Exhibition – Meet me at the Paragon

State Library’s latest exhibition, Meet me at the Paragon explores how the creation of American-style cafés enabled Greek migrants of the early to mid-1900s to carve out a new life in a foreign land. The exhibition runs from 27 September 2019 until 15 March 2020.

Anne Scheu – Engagement Officer, State Library of Queensland