What are Neighbourhood Goods? They are the corner stores that are community cornerstones. They are the little butchers, delis, grocers that have been integral parts of the community for as long as the community has been there.
Walk down Chapel Road in Bankstown and it is decorated with Vietnamese cafés and eateries, supported by a wave of immigrants in the 1990s. Bankstown has always been a hub for migrants from all nations. One remaining relic of the migrants of years gone by stands out, with aged blue writing reads “Olympic Continental Deli and Butcher”. Nestled into the vibrant and diverse Bankstown Plaza, The shop is a time capsule of the way things were. Simple, familiar, and specialised for the community
Olympic Deli’s skinny laneway of a shop recently celebrated 60 years, it was first opened in 1956, by Peter Karpouzi and Manuel Lagoutaris. Inspired by the Melbourne Olympics, it was suitably named, Olympic Deli. The shop has been a hub for deli meats for the changing waves of immigrants that have called Bankstown home over the last 60 years. Servicing not only the Greek community, but also just about every ethnicity from continental Europe.
Peter, or simply Karpouzi as he is affectionately known in the community, migrated from the island of Lesvos in 1948, learnt how to make his own smoked meats after working with a Latvian employee. They sourced their meats from abattoirs around Homebush and the rest was history. Later he updated his smokehouse and added a large col room and butchery in the back.
The shop is homely and romantically dated, like the natural patina on a classic car. The sign above the butchered meats read in Greek. Many of the employees know their customers personally. It’s a place to buy small goods, cheese, and continental sweets, have a coffee, have a chat. It’s not only a deli it’s a meeting place.
Today, Peter is still in the shop, overseeing operations with his daughter Joanne , after Manuel suddenly passed in 1980. They both take the time to talk to their customers, get to know them, its part of the Olympic way. That’s part of the secret to longevity, even though the community may not be dominating the area, they still stop by Olympic Deli to buy their Specialty goods.
If you want to taste over half a century of expertise and community service, get down to Olympic Deli and try the Cypriot Sausage red wine marinated pork sausage.
Shop 41, Old Town Plaza, Bankstown