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submitted by Sydney Morning Herald on 28.10.2013

The granddaddy of all milk bar shake-ups

After Emmanuel Benardos opened Bernie's Diner in Moss Vale in 1925, the governor-general popped in for a milkshake. He soon became a regular.

On the first weekend of March, 2013, Benardos' grandson, Ioannis, reopened Bernie's, part of a new local movement reinventing milk bars and diners. He serves the same milkshake his grandfather did. ''We've got the original syrup recipe, no preservatives, fresh ingredients and organic sugar,'' Benardos says.

Part of the new breed of uptown restaurant talent putting some gloss on lower-end food offerings, Benardos joins US chef Dan McGuirt, who recently opened Jazz City Milk Bar at Republic 2, and former Manly Pavilion head chef Tony Gibson, who is opening a New York-style deli in East Sydney. Benardos' partner at Bernie's Diner (402 Argyle Street, Moss Vale) is Giuliano Colosimo, a graduate of the kitchen at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar. ''We'll do pastrami and corned beef, but it was always a blackboard menu when my grandfather was here, and we'll reproduce some of those Greek classics, like braised lamb shoulder and spanakopita,'' Benardos says.

''The family sold the business in 1957 after my grandfather died but they kept the building. It has had about five different tenants since. When I wanted to do my own place, it felt like a good spot to do it. We've gone for an old-school take with the interior, with elements of art deco from its early days and a 1950s-style update.''

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