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When you run a successful establishment with a name as fancy as ‘Barkley Johnson’, it’s surely a testament to your character when the place becomes known colloquially as simply ‘Jim’s’.

That’s the case for proprietor and purveyor of an amazing array of quality produce and wines, Jim Gridas, now in his sixth year in Anderson Street Yarraville after a successful stint at The Morning Star in Williamstown.

“People said ‘it’s good to see you back’, but I never went anywhere, I’ve always lived and worked in the west. Mum and Dad still live in Severn Street.”

A quick glance across the ‘wine wall’ and deli counter, it’s clear Jim knows his stuff. French soft cheeses sit alongside English cheddars, whilst a column of Italian chianti stacks up next to a lovely Mornington Peninsula Pinot. And don’t even get us started on the Sicilian olives, spicy feta capsicum dip, and the best Spanakopita this side of Thessaloniki.

“My Mum and Dad started off with the milk bar in Empress Avenue in Kingsville. They did milk bars, take-aways, that was our life; school, then home to help Dad fill the fridges and sweep the floors.”

It’s clear Jim used that time well, learning the most important parts of the hospitality trade – ordering and managing stock, presenting an appealing space, and of course, talking to customers.

“The characters that come in here – there’s this one guy who barracks for Richmond, so much material there, I feel his pain because I used to barrack for them too. My older cousin was a Tiger supporter and he told us if we didn’t follow them, he’d punch us. Even he gave up in the end.”

‘Jim’s’ aka Barkley Johnson is at 11 Anderson Street, Yarraville and open Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 am.



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