A true jack-of-all-trades you’ll catch John doing anything from taking orders, making coffees, cleaning tables and chatting with regulars. His love for “honest, good food” and sharing meals with loved ones was what drew him to hospitality.
What started as Dee’s Kitchen – a passion project for two families, creating meals based on their home recipes and inspired by their Middle-Eastern heritage – is now the much loved local jaunt Pier Street Kitchen.
Born and raised in St Kilda, John spent a great deal of his life up and around the city. Before moving to the Peninsula, he had a taste of cafe life, running a small cafe in Toorak Village in the early 2000s.
Owning a business was always on the cards for John, who recalls a long love for “dining out and the bar scene” in Melbourne. So when a career change was on the cards, fate ushered him through the hospitality door, and he hasn’t looked back since.
“There is something so beautiful about the Peninsula … and I didn’t want to work for someone else my whole life.” He says as he explains what drew him down here.
John became a permanent resident of ‘The Ninch’ back in 2007, moving to Red Hill with his family. There the dream took off, and alongside friends, opened what is now Pier Street Kitchen.
Driven by good food, John is passionate about feeding his family – especially his young daughters – the best food possible. His love for all things local is evident in the menu, “it’s food that reflects my values.” he says, inferring that an individual's diet holds the key to their longevity.
Majority of the Pier Street Kitchen menu is made in house from ingredients supplied by local producers; relationships that helps him to stay connected to the people and place around him.
Sharing “good food with friends and family” bring up fond childhood memories for John, who attributes his strong sense of community to his Greek heritage.
He’s a hands-on business owner, and loves “getting to know the people around [him], and seeing the enjoyment that they get from food.” If you’re ever in the Dromana area, pop into Pier Street Kitchen, grab a coffee and something tasty from their menu, and enjoy a chat with John, he’s sure got a good story.