After 40 years the menu is still a winner at Lemongrass

It’s been four decades of family service and delicious food being served by Bill and Helen Beis of Lemongrass located at the entry to the beautiful North Balwyn Village arcade at 70 Doncaster Road.

In March 1983, the couple together with brother Theo moved into the shop which was formerly a milkbar-style shop offering milkshakes, coffees and small eats and was only open for a few hours each day to service the peak time of customer demand.

Bill and his brother saw an opportunity to set up their own business at this well-frequented shopping strip. While they didn’t change the name, they certainly changed the offerings.

Anyone who has tasted a Lemongrass roast chicken, Bill’s to-die-for lasagna or his handmade salads, which he lovingly makes every morning, would know that he has the market cornered for the best secret herbs and spices which give his chickens that unique flavour.

Bill and his family emigrated from Greece, a small place 180km from Athens and 40km from Patra in 1977. His first job was at the Greythorn chicken shop – Nick’s Chicken Bar where he worked for three years.

From 1980-83 before taking over the lease at Lemongrass he worked in a fish shop at Moorabbin.

1983 saw him yearning to have his own shop. “In the early days we were a really busy coffee shop. There were not many coffee shops back then and the place was full with people wanting a good European coffee,” Bill says.

“Today things have changed and like everything, changing demographics, how we work, what we do, keeps changing and we have to keep up with the times. Back then the footpaths were so full of people, today, it’s a much slower pace on our shopping strips.

“We need people to come back and support local and everything we do local that makes our neighbourhood stronger.”

When asking Bill about memorable times at his eat in and take away shop, he said he remembers a couple of ladies, it was probably a grandmother and mother with her children having scones with jam and cream. “My brother and I were talking a bit loudly behind the counter debating whether fruit juices were 100% juice or had water added and she got upset with us and left without finishing their scones.

“Well my brother was so upset, that he went to the pedestrian crossing where they were crossing the road  and threw the scones and jam and cream on the road and jumped up and down on them. It certainly created quite the scene.”

Bill says, their main priority is always to produce good food and look after the customer’s needs. “We can’t please everyone but we try. We know our chickens need to be flavoursome and why our spices have been curated over many years to get them just perfect. There is no stuffing in our chicken, we just know we have to cook them to 101% quality.

“At lunch time we also offer schnitzels and our choice of six to seven salads are the perfect accompaniment to the lasagna, schnitzel and chickens. And of course no takeaway is complete without the perfectly crispy, freshly cooked chips to go.

Lemongrass is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 7pm. After 40 years of serving up to the locals, you can’t go wrong with the food here – it’s a treat we look forward to enjoying for another 40 years. If you haven’t had the privilege to savour the taste, make sure you put your order in and get in on the taste action at the much-loved Lemongrass.

LEMONGRASS is one of 55 businesses offering a shopping and services experience to our customers. Come shop with us – where the biggest smiles and the best service are waiting to greet you.

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