Melbourne bids farewell to Pope Joan

One of Melbourne’s most beloved cafés, Pope Joan, has closed its doors on 24 June after eight years of trade.

Its Brunswick East site, at 77-79 Nicholson Street in Melbourne, is slated to become a seven-storey apartment building.

“It has been one of the great joys of my life to feed the people of Brunswick and Melbourne good food made from locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients,” says Owner and Chef Matt Wilkinson.

“The past few years we have seen a huge influx in apartment developments in our neighbourhood and our humble block will also become one in the near future. Of course, I would have loved for Brunswick to have remained a village of quaint weatherboard houses and small cafes like ours but it’s just the way it goes. It’s the end of an era.”

To go out with a bang for its last month of service, Pope Joan brought back its nighttime restaurant offering for the first time since March 2016, and rolled out a daytime ‘favourites’ menu.

Dinner was served over four Friday evenings from Friday 1 June until Friday 22 June including the Milawa Chicken Kiev, which made one last curtain call.

The daytime menu featured customer and staff favourites including Pope’s Heuvos, chorizo, poached egg, spiced beans, guacamole and piquillo pepper salsa; Pumpkin and haloumi tart with fried egg, crispy onion, grains, and currants; Joan’s baked beans, and Pope Joan’s range of award-winning sandwiches including the Cornish, the Kebabalon, the Pope Joan roll, the Reuben, and the Cuban.

Pope Joan opened its doors on 2 July 2010, and in the past eight years it has become one of Melbourne’s favourite neighbourhood cafés.

Matt will continue to own and run his pastry-haven The Pie Shop, which is on a different title at 75 Nicholson Street, East Brunswick. The Pie Shop is open 11am until 3pm, Monday to Saturday.