Stroll into Strollio’s Luncheonette: A nostalgic new lunchbar in the northern suburbs

Strollio's Luncheonette, Tuart Hill
Home >Eat & Drink >Stroll into Strollio’s Luncheonette: A nostalgic new lunchbar in the northern suburbs

Pulling into a parking bay in suburban Tuart Hill, the lively fluorescence of Strollio’s hand-painted window is almost irresistibly nostalgic.

Soaking it up in the afternoon sunshine, suddenly we’re transported back to being eight years old and mum is picking up some snags from the butchers, or we’ve ditched our bikes out the front of the corner deli to buy 50 cents worth of lollies.

Strollio's Luncheonette, Tuart Hill
Strollio's Luncheonette, Tuart Hill

In actuality, we’re out the front of a brand new venue – and while it’s been inspired by the corner delis of our childhoods, it’s blended its old-school vibe with a new-wave approach thanks to owners Nathan Alexander and Hannah Budge.

“I’m a baker – I’ve been a baker for about 12 years,” Nathan tells us. We’re chatting one afternoon in one of their cosy, retro booths, its seats saved from an old school bus in Augusta. Above us, a geometric, abstract boat painting by artist Ross Seaton (also known as Perth’s “Walking Man“) is hung proudly.

“I worked at North Street, Little Loaf, Big Loaf. But the last place I worked, I was the head baker at Bagel O’s. Then I left there and I was like, you know what? I’m ready to start on my own. I’ve always wanted to start a sandwich shop, keep it small.”

(Hannah’s background is in fashion, describing herself as a “jack of all trades in the design department”.)

Strollio's Luncheonette, Tuart Hill

“I guess we’re going for the lunch bar, milk bar, cafe thing that we remember from our childhood… You know, the lollies in the jar – bring it back!”

“A bit of a third place, you know, where you can come and have a coffee between your work and your house, or you’re on your way to school, on your way to dropping your kids off, you’re walking your dog. Bring your dog in, we love dogs!”

“Spend your pocket money here!” Hannah laughs.

We can’t help but wonder, though: exactly who or what is a strollio? Is this a little-known Italian slang expression? Perhaps a vital piece of continental deli vocabulary? Not quite…

“So ‘strollio’ is for me, I use it like a slang word for walking,” Nathan explains, chuckling.

“I’d say I’d ‘go for a strollio’… And when I’m not working, that’s what I’m doing! I wanted to make a space that had an emphasis on that – so we’ll have deli stuff, but snacks you can, you know, swing past, grab some food and continue on with a coffee, go for your little walk.”

“In the coffee section, we’ll be doing Twin Peaks coffee. And then I’ll have donuts, some lemon meringue, some seasonal sweet stuff. Fruit salads, rice pudding in the cabinet, and a lot of sandwiches: there’ll be like silverside, cream and strawberry, like a Japanese sando. Spam and egg, egg salad, and some toasties. It’s a small menu, but it’s classics.”

“Classics from all around the world,” adds Hannah.

“Kind of riffing on the greasy spoon diner or the caf, but from different parts of the world. You know, the spam and egg is kind of like a classic Hawaiian 7-Eleven pick up, you know, you’ll go and get your spam and egg sushi and wasabi…”

“There’s a vegan sandwich, a couple of vegetarian options. I’m celiac, so we’re definitely going to try and do some gluten free stuff. I’m pushing Nathan to get in there and play around with some gluten free stuff, because you see all of the same gluten free things on the menu, you know, like orange and almond cake. I’m over it – I want a donut!”

Strollio's Luncheonette, Tuart Hill

“We’re going to have a loose change kind of menu as well,” Nathan continues. “I don’t want to have a super expensive menu, I want it to be accessible for everyone. That’s one of the core values behind it.”

Alongside takeaway food options, they’ll also have a few shelves with a mix of old-school and new-wave deli staples – think eggs, milk, bread, toiletries, stationery, incense, picnic supplies… Not to mention luscious cheese from artisanal makers Goldstreet (“It’s very good cheese”, Nathan stresses), and in the future, posies by their friend, Natalia of Fleur Societé.

“She’s going to do some bunches for us,” Hannah explains. “She normally just does weddings and events, she’s kind of moved away from the little posies and things like that, but she said she’d do it for us. She’s fantastic!”

“Speaking to a lot of locals who’ve walked past and they see the door propped open, we’ve been talking to them and they love it.” adds Nathan. “They’re like, ‘About time someone put something here!'”

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“We’re not locals, but we saw this spot and it had the right energy, didn’t it?” Hannah continues.

“Obviously it was a deli before… It just had the soul that we wanted, you know, and we didn’t wanna change too much about it – just kind of draw on its past.”

Strollio’s Luncheonette is scheduled to open late April, and will be located at 68B Lawley Street, Tuart Hill.

All images by Sally Hall / Perth is OK!