Iconic Showgrounds Cafe shuts

NARACOORTE'S food service industry has lost an icon with the closure of popular fish 'n' chip shop Showgrounds Cafe.

Naracoorte's Showgrounds Cafe has shut up shop.

Naracoorte's Showgrounds Cafe has shut up shop.

Known by many long-time locals as "Jack Black's" or "Black Jack's", the shop has been an institution on the corner of Sandstone Ave and Smith St - opposite the gates to the Naracoorte Showgrounds - for more than 60 years.

It was a fish 'n' chip shop under a series of different owners from the time "Jack" Kyriacos established the Showgrounds Cafe in 1951 until it closed its doors last month.

But while the business is shut now, there is still hope that the shop won't be lost to the town for good.

Owner Dawn Waye ceased trading in April, but has not removed any of the fittings and said the business was on the market and ready for a new owner to start virtually immediately.

Mrs Waye has owned the shop for the past 20 years, but placed it on the market several years ago. While she tried to carry on until a new owner could be found, in the end it became too much.

Contrary to some speculation, the business didn't close because of any external factors - such as the arrival in town of fast food restaurant McDonald's.

"I guess the main reason is, after 20 years of being down there I got sick of it," Mrs Waye said simply, adding that her own health issues had not helped.

She did concede that competition had impacted on the business - "everyone in town sells fish 'n' chips" - but said that wasn't why she closed the doors.

"It's a good business," she said. "It just wasn't for me any more.

"It's a good location, plenty of parking, we had a good reputation - our slogan was (we've got) the best fish 'n' chips in Australia.

"I think I enjoyed my time there, it just got a bit too much."

Mrs Waye said it wasn't as if no one showed any interest in buying the business while it was running, with at least two parties quite serious, and she would welcome any new enquiries.

She described her staff over the years as "very loyal", and also thanked her customers and suppliers.

Naracoorte's Showgrounds Cafe has shut up shop.

Naracoorte's Showgrounds Cafe has shut up shop.

History

The earliest record of the building's use was as a boarding house back in the 1930s.

Long-time Naracoorte hairdresser Bob Moyle recalled that his father told him he first came to Naracoorte in 1936 and was a boarder there for a few weeks while he set up his business.

At that time, the building was owned by Naracoorte lawyer Foster Skewes.

Greek man "Jack" Kyriacos opened Showgrounds Cafe in 1951 - founding a 63-year history of takeaway food being offered from the building.

The business was taken on by a succession of owners in the ensuing years until Mrs Waye bought it in 1994.

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