Tributes are pouring in for Johnny Adilinis, proprietor of the Golden Gate Café at The Entrance on NSW’s Central Coast, who passed away on Tuesday 17 January after an unexpected illness.
Mr Adilinis, who lived to the age of 92, had worked and resided in the coastal suburb for over 70 years.
Immigrating to Australia in the 1940’s while still in his early teens, Johnny lived in Maroubra in Sydney’s eastern suburbs until his sister Lola and her husband Dennis Raft bought the Golden Gate Café in 1952.
Situated about half way between Sydney and Newcastle, The Entrance has long attracted families of holidaymakers as the opportune spot for a weekend getaway.
And among The Entrance’s many attractions, stood The Golden Gate Café, serving up milkshakes, spiders, sundaes and of course copious amounts of lollies.
Located opposite what was until recently The Entrance’s cinema, it was the stop to make at the beginning or end of an evening on the town.
Originally opened in 1933, it received its iconic name after it was sold to an American businessman, then changing hands to Nick and Thea Lourandos who were later joined by Lola and Dennis Raft as business partners in 1952.
By 1955, Johnny had bought the Lourandos’ share.
Ever since he faithfully served his community, keeping them fed, watered and in good company, until the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered the store.
Johnny retired soon after, the decision not being taken lightly according to his great niece who said in memorial post on social media
“While leaving the shop was a difficult decision, Johnny knew it was time. The shop simply wasn’t the same without his sister.”
A flow of well wishes and thoughtful tributes have been left on the post announcing Johnny’s passing, demonstrating the impact he’d had on his community; and that his absence would be felt by all.
“We loved going to Johnny’s, one of my favourite memories. Condolences” read one post, “He was truly a gentleman. Blessings to all the family” said another.
Others noted just how much of a presence Johnny had been during their formative years.
“As a kid in the 1980’s it was always part of the experience to go and get lollies off Johnny before seeing a film at the cinema”
“I remember when I was young I’d go to Johnny’s shop to buy lollies and sneak them into the movie theatre across the road. He’d always say to me ‘Now don’t you get caught young man, have a great time’. He was just a beautiful man.”
Residents of The Entrance are now calling for the construction of a permanent tribute in Johnny’s honour, recognising the many memories and contributions he’d made in the seaside town.
Mr Adilinis’ funeral will be held Friday, 27 January, 1.30pm at the Hillside Chapel in Palmdale.