I had received many recommendations and rave reviews from friends about St Gerry’s, so when the 32nd Sister City Festival came around last month I ventured down to Federation Square to see whether the hype surrounding their loukoumades was warranted.
Set up by the river, from the get go I had a good feeling; greeted by smiling faces, I received the customer service experience that only small independent business does so well.
I opted for the hazelnut chocolate option, because what could be better than a fresh, warm Greek donut slathered in my favourite Italian choc hazelnut spread? Well the answer is nothing. Nothing could be better than that. Other than of course one of their many other options that I will endeavour to tick off my list.
Now two years in and the popular loukoumades and Fudge Puppies (Belgian waffle on a stick) made by cousins Dean Giannakis and Fotis Nikolaou are truly a part of Melbourne’s buzzing food scene.
The boys were inspired to trade in the corporate life after holidaying with family on the Greek island of Kefalonia. At a festival celebrating the area’s patron saint, Saint Gerasimos (hence the business name) they noticed people queuing up for loukoumades and after nabbing a plate for themselves, Dean’s mind started ticking over with ideas.
“I pitched an idea to my cousin, wrote a business plan whilst tanning at Costa Costa beach and the rest is history,” Dean tells Neos Kosmos.
Within 11 weeks of returning to Melbourne, their Greek dream was realised with St Gerry’s up and running in November 2014, and the response has been “ridiculously good”.
“People travel all over Melbourne, even outer Melbourne to find us at events. People would come to the Royal Melbourne Show to pick up donuts and then go home. So we’ve got a really good following and we get head hunted for a lot of our events. So I think we’ve set the precedent when it comes to Greek donuts,” says the business owner.
The pair are always experimenting with new flavours for variety, and the menu is ever-changing so there’s something for everyone, whether you like fairy floss and caramelised popcorn on your donuts or the more traditional honey syrup topped with cinnamon and walnuts.
Popular combinations include their bite-sized donuts drizzled with hazelnut chocolate and crumbed biscuits, apple compote and salted caramel with crumble, tiramisu coffee cream with hazelnut chocolate, and their Fudge Puppies which come with a host of delicious toppings. Oh and they have their own take on the Snickers bar … so it’s fair to say you’ll be in for a treat no matter your tastes.
And what’s best is that the donuts are all made from scratch and topped with quality ingredients before your eyes.
“We love giving people the chance to not only see what goes in but also enjoy the theatre. This is what makes us feel good,” he says.
“Watching people’s smiles and expressions when they take their first bite is everything.”
But aside from their product, their overwhelming success is in large part attributed to their undeniable passion and love for food that had been simmering for years.
“I’ve always worked on business models/ideas for pop-up food ventures and even cafes, but never followed through with any. St Gerry’s helped me achieve that drive and fire in my belly to follow my heart and establish myself in the culinary world,” Dean explains.
“We are spoilt for choice in Melbourne and I feel this city is a foodies haven, so why not work in a space that’s constantly booming and busy?”
While the pair have enjoyed moving around Melbourne’s most popular festivals, shows, and markets, in an attempt to meet demand the cousins are now expanding to bricks and mortar.
“We’re opening our first shop next year, fingers crossed, end of February,” and at this stage can confirm that it will be located in Melbourne’s CBD.
“Life is too short to not give an opportunity to doing something you love,” and way too short not to eat those loukoumades. So check them out, you won’t be sorry.
St.Gerry’s is also available for private functions and event hire. Contact them at [email protected] to organise a booking. To find out more about St Gerry’s and where to find them, visit www.stgerrys.com.au