New owners introduce international theme nights

New owners Sam and Toula Antonis welcome you to their new international theme nights at Cafe Jilarty

New owners Sam and Toula Antonis welcome you to their new international theme nights at Cafe Jilarty

Michelle Gilmore

If you listen to Sam and Toula Antonis laugh, you know that the new owners of Café Jilarty are settling into Rainbow Beach.

Already supporters of the Rainbow Beach SLSC, I see them at the raffles, and they’ve brought home a few meat trays in the last few weeks (sometimes a few in the one night!), and even the mystery prize.

Toula said, “The first time we came up here was in January and we fell in love.

“Sam and I saw the café ‘for sale’ sign and we moved here in March!

“I love the peace and quiet, and when I’m driving to work and see the sun come up on the ocean, it takes any stress away.”

Their girls, Danielle, 14 and Gabrielle, now in Prep at Rainbow Beach State School, have settled well into the community. Their sons remain in Brisbane. Terry is in Year 12 with a school-based apprenticeship and Arthur plays soccer full time for Brisbane City.

“Everyone wants to be by the beach when they retire. We thought, why don’t we make the move before then?” said Toula.

Sam said, “Mate, it’s beautiful here, I love the ocean, I take a swim every day, it makes you stop and enjoy life.”

And do they have plans for Jilartys? “We have only tweaked the menu, so you will still find your favourites.

“You can’t get rid of anything off the brekky menu, it is all too popular!” Toula said.

They are committed to buying more local produce from Rainbow Beach Meats and will keep a focus on fresh ingredients.

The duo are planning an expansion later this year, “We are knocking a wall down and taking Happy Travels so the layout change will create more space for prep and tables,” Toula explained.

The main change the couple bring is the introduction of ‘International nights’, including Greek, Mexican, Italian, Lebanese and more!

Toula said, “The inspiration for the theme nights came from everyone asking me to cook Greek!

“We both have Greek parents, so everyone asked for moussaka, spanakopita, when are you going to cook this? When are you going to cook that?” she laughed.

I can vouch for those beautiful flavours and authentic Greek food. I couldn’t decide if it was the spicy lamb cabbage rolls with roasted pepper puree and the best tzatziki I have ever tasted or the yemista, (stuffed tomato and eggplant) that was my favourite. Or was it the fattoush salad or lamb rump, how do they make it so tender?

Then they served up the baklava and I was really in a quandary as to my favourite of the night!

But I will go back when lemon and garlic squid skewers, souvlaki with halloumi, homestyle moussaka, portokalopita (orange syrup cake) and galaktoboureko (Greek style custard slice) is on the menu. Am I making you hungry? Good!

To find out which country you’ll dine from this Friday or Saturday evening, ‘like’ Café Jilarty on Facebook or Instagram.

Bring a bottle of your favourite beverage and enjoy a theme night from 5pm.

Café Jillarty is open daily from 6.30am to 8pm on Rainbow Beach Road, Rainbow Beach. Takeaway is also available. Call Sam, Toula and the team on 5486 3277 to book!