Get your Greek on in West End

Modern day West End is a melting pot of all cultures, office workers and students. Old workers cottages, industrialised architecture and foodie destinations continue to line the inner suburban streets of this historic Brisbane suburb. People come and go but there is one culture than is continually prominent in this area – Greek.

First up, some history...

Migrant influences survive all over West End, however no migrant community has had a stronger influence on the area than the Greeks. The 1920s saw the first Greeks flock to the area due to its proximity to the city, cheap accommodation and employment opportunities. World War II and Greek Civil War caused a rush of refugees to Australia and saw their community continue to increase in West End. By 1975, approximately 80% of the Brisbane Greek community lived in West End. 

Today an abundance of excellent Greek restaurants, the annual Paniyiri Festival, the gorgeous Orthodox Church, and Greek Club are prominent reminders of the migrant past.

Paniyiri Festival

Paniyiri Festival celebrates everything Greek over a weekend of food, drink, entertainment and people. This festival started in 1976 and continues to be the longest running Greek festival in Australia, seeing over 50,000 people entering over the two days. More than 20 hours of entertainment will keep you groovin’ while the food will definitely stop you from movin’. Meat, meat and more meat will be lining the stalls ready for you to enjoy, while Dolmades, Souvlaki, Moussaka, Loukoumades and Baklava are only some of the traditional options that you can expect. You may even run into some famous TV personalities who will be celebrating their Greek lineage. 

This year features 30 food stalls, 100 Hellenic dancers, grape stomping, olive and honeypuff eating competitions, plate smashing, Zorba dancing, face paintings and more.

Hot Tip: Try ‘Koupes’ from the Cypriot store, they are bundles of goodness with a crispy outside and herb and spiced savory mince on the inside. 

Greek restaurants 

Yiros

There is almost a never-ending list of Greek restaurants lining the streets of West End. You can never go wrong choosing from the specials board at Little Greek Taverna, or head to Lefkas for the marinated meat dish served like an open yiros. Traditionally, The Kafenio was a male-dominated restaurant for friendly card games and traditional Greek food but once people heard about the lamb on the spit special it was open for business. The list continues with Ouzeri the top spot for calamari, Kafe Meze for the seafood meze board or the simple West End Charcoal or The Yiros Shop in nearby South Bank for a quick and easy meal. 

Greek Club 

The Greek Club

The Greek Club is the central hub of Greek culture in West End. Live music plays on the weekends at the Odyssey Taverna, the club’s very own restaurant and bar. You can sit back and relax to the live performances while dining on the traditional Greek dishes that line the menu. You may even catch a glimpse of the occasional wedding happening most Saturday nights in the ballroom. 

Hellenic dancers

The Hellenic dancers are an elite Greek dancing group that can often be seen performing at events around Brisbane. Since 1977, the group work to promote and preserve Greek culture through traditional dance and are iconic to the Greek community. You may recognise these dancers from performances at the Commonwealth games in 1982, Expo of 1988 and most prestigiously, the lighting of the torch ceremony for Sydney Olympics in 2000 - watch out for these guys at this year’s Paniyiri Festival. 

The Greek Orthodox Church 

Greek Orthodox Church, West End

The Greek Orthodox Community of Saint George Brisbane was established in 1929 because of the large influx of Greek migrants to the area. As the community continued to grow, land was bought on Edmondstone St in South Brisbane because of its central location within the community, and is now home to the oldest and largest Greek Orthodox Church in Queensland. Consecrated in 1960, it boasts a simple design on the outside but the domed ceiling and every wall on the inside is covered with frescoes and biblical images. Simply put, it is stunning. Open from 9 to 5 on weekdays, you’ll want to marvel at this wonderful piece of architecture which is a meaningful part of West End history.

Greek food grocers

Looking to make your own Greek food? Delta Contintental Food Wholesaler stocks everything you need, replicating what you would find in a supermarket in Greece. From Greek chocolate bars and sweets to frozen traditional dishes like spanakopita and tiropitas, this Greek food grocer could not offer more traditional food options if it tried. Did we mention they also have an abundant amount of cheese, olives and cured meats?