Adam Gerondis’ lineage puts him in good stead as the director of Moo Gourmet Burgers. His grandfather was Greek migrant Joachim Tavlaridis. In 1932, Tavlaridis opened the first ever milk bar in Martin Place, Sydney.
The Black & White 4d Milk Bar changed the way Australians ate and drank and revolutionised Australian food culture. And Gerondis ensures that this strong history, this symbolic cultural icon lives on at Moo Gourmet Burgers. Gerondis was six-years-old when his grandfather passed away, and although they didn’t talk ‘shop’, he said his grandfather always made sure he knew his past.
“It was always something we had spoken about; that he had come to Australia with nothing and opened several milk bars. It inspired me because I have always wanted to go into this business. I have been involved in food since high school and I am sure that’s come from some of the stories and influences of my grandfather,” Gerondis told Neos Kosmos.
He pays homage to the Black and White 4d Milk Bar by sticking with traditional recipes and methods in creating burgers and milkshakes. But also by not steering away from the modern and contemporary ingredients that are on the market.
The Black & White Burger, 100 per cent Australian Angus beef, tomato, mixed leaf lettuce, free range egg, mozzarella, mayo and tomato relish showcases the best of old-school style burgers but with fresh new ingredients. And this traditional burger sits comfortably next such new twists like the Piri Piri Chicken Burger, Red Kidney Bean Burger, Duck & Bacon Burger and Greek Lamb Burger.
“We have about 20 burgers to choose from as we try and use a whole lot of different meat and ingredients. We use all ethically farmed sustainable produce, all free range meat and chicken. They are very different to your standard burgers, they are just really big juicy tasty burgers.”
Moo Gourmet Burgers milkshakes are something else. “We do a traditional old fashioned milk shake with paper straws in the metal containers. We really go to a lot of trouble for this. One of the first things our staff learn is how to make a really good milkshake. We are very particular about how much ice cream to put in, how much syrup and what type of milk we use. I think people appreciate it.”
You can choose from the traditional milkshake – chocolate, strawberry, caramel or vanilla – with or without malt, just like you used to get when you were a kid Or you can try some of the modern interpretations with the specialised Moo Shakes. “[The Moo Shakes are] our modern interpretation of the classic shake. The Moo Shakes have candy bars in them and tend to be much thicker than the traditional shakes,” explained Gerondis. Oreo biscuits are crushed to create Mod Cow Shake, Maltesers are squashed in the MooTeaser Shake and marshmallows are scattered through the RockyMoo Shake. There are also smoothies and a selection of classic desserts like an ice-cream sundae and banana split.
The three Sydney Moo Gourmet Burgers stores are as relaxed as the suburbs they come in. With two at the seaside Bondi and Coogee Beach, and one in bohemian Newtown, Gerondis has created a laid back style and casual vibe that is felt when you walk in the door. The stores also feature Black & White 4d Milk Bar memorabilia with original photographs, news clippings and items, such as plates, cups and a milkshake maker, that were given to him by his mother Helen Gerondis, and auntie, Lilian Keldoulis. But even with the successful gourmet burger franchise he has created, Gerondis said it was his first business – as a wide-eyed teenager – that taught him the most. Fresh out of high school, he opened a cafe in Watsons Bay with a friend that didn’t last the year. Keen to get into business, he said he may not have been ready then, but is certainly ready now.
The first Moo Gourmet Burgers opened in 2009 to a positive response. That same year, Gerondis opened the Coogee Beach store and last year, the third store opened. And with three successful business already, Gerondis is now looking at opening more. He isn’t ruling out the possibility of interstate, but this hands-on manager – who divides his time between the three stores and doing spot checks – will only open interstate if he can be certain that quality control is in place.
Charity work is something else Gerondis got from his generous grandfather. Moo Gourmet Burgers donates 50 cents of every Little Cow meal sold and has just hit the $4000 mark in donations to the Starlight Foundation. “My grandfather was a big supporter of charity. On the anniversary of each opening he would donate funds to various causes so I decided to carry that out and we support the Starlight Foundation.”
For more information and locations visit moogourmetburgers.com.au/