Il Giardino Cafe – Cheltenham, Bayside Melbourne
Posted on August 21st, 2017
Il Giardino Cafe – Cheltenham, Bayside Melbourne
By Prue Henschke, Guest Blogger
Il Giardino is one of those cafes you are unlikely to stumble on. Tucked away in the Gills Nursery Complex in the Bayside suburb of Cheltenham it’s a perfect spot for mums to spend some me-time catching up with friends or enjoying some (relatively) quiet time, while the kids are entertained.
The biggest drawcard as a mum is the brilliant outdoor space. The outdoor area overlooks a display swimming pool (fenced) and is surrounded by large weeping lilly pilly trees, has large wooden tables and benches catering for larger groups (perfect for mothers groups) as well as numerous other smaller tables.
The kids’ play area currently has two colourful “cubby houses”. The kids’ space was born after the cafe was approached back in 2014 by the business My Cubby to install two cubby houses to promote their business. This was done in conjunction with artificial grass provided by business, Grass by the Meter, to make the play area safe and kid friendly.
The response to the addition of the play area was immediate. As owners Spiros Kourtes and Tony Samaras explain “Since the cubby doors opened, the traffic of little VIP’s has never stopped!!! We have a close relationship with several local primary schools particularly Sandringham East and Beaumaris North. This last year we hosted Sandringham East Pink Ribbon Cancer Charity Event which was a huge success”.
They add “we find that there is a constant flow our little VIP’s coming in as soon as the doors open at 8.30am! There can be a bit more traffic pre-and post the school drop off, albeit it doesn’t matter if the heavens open, the kids are armed with their gumboots, hats and rain jackets and nothing will stop them having a ball – they take great delight in throwing the autumn leaves about at this time of year”.
Spiros and Tony have plans to expand the existing kids’ area “we are in in the process of extending this further to incorporate another two fun spaces (houses!!!), so our little VIP’s can have even more fun!!! Not only do kids of all ages love “cooking in the rear cubby house” (it has a pretend kitchen), they also love the bright yellow house which has a climbing area and slide. This large space provides hours of enjoyment, laughter and fun, and it gives the parents a time to relax and catch up.”
On cold, rainy days the café has a cozy indoor couch area with a large low wooden coffee table. As for keeping the kids entertained indoors, Spiros and Tony share “There is a secret hiding spot that all our VIP’s know about. Why you may ask? They know that underneath the large wooden table is a plethora of colourful fun!!! We have story books and colouring books and provide crayons and pencils to keep everyone happy! There are also many highchairs for our wee VIP’s so they can dine with their families!”
Il Giardino opened its doors in March 2012. The business was bought and taken over with a new Management team by Spiros in July 2016, with Tony as the front of house General Manager.
Both Spiros and Tony are of Greek heritage, which is reflected in the Mediterranean influenced menu and the passionate, personable service they pride themselves on.
The cafe serves all day breakfast from 8.30am and lunch is served daily from 12.00pm. All meals, including cakes are homemade and cater to dietary requirements.
“We pride ourselves in looking after every whim of our little VIP’s and our team of chefs have crafted a special menu just for them both for breakfast and lunch. We cater to all dietary requirements, and provide many yummy treats for them to enjoy with their baby chinos from “Finding NEMO” cookies, smarty cookies and other rotating scrumptious surprises that keep our little clientele excited” say Spiros and Tony.
“The ambiance of the café is not pretentious and we pride ourselves that our staff members (many of whom have been part of the Il Giardino family for several years’ now, including our Front of House Floor Manager Graham Margarone who has been the face of Il Giardino since the front doors opened) provide a friendly, relaxed and genuine style of service and know all the regulars from kids to grandparents personally and many by name!”
Need to know:
About the author: Kid Friendly Cafes Australia is so excited that Prue from Mama’s Me-time has taken some time to review this fantastic Kid Friendly Cafe. Prue is an advocate for mamas finding time for self care, which we are too! Prue created Mama’s Me-time to document her own journey to find more time for self care and ways to nurture herself. She very quickly realised she wasn’t alone in struggling to create me-time as a mama and so her intention for Mama’s Me-time has evolved. You can find Prue at her blog and website, Mama’s Me time, her Facebook or Instagram
We would love to hear from you! Don’t forget to tell us what you think! Have you been to Il Gardino Cafe? Do you have another favourite local Kid Friendly Cafe that you would like to tell us about?