How it all began...
"In Italy, my husband and I had heard so many wonderful things about Australia that we became excited about the prospect of starting a new life. With all our enthusiasm, in 1970 we decided to migrate to Australia, arriving in Melbourne with much anticipation. But of course nothing like that is ever easy. We left all our loved ones behind to begin our new journey. The language barrier also made things very difficult. We didn’t have children yet, so we were able to attend English language classes after work every day.
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In 1972 my husband and I worked in these same premises we are in now, only at the time the restaurant was called ‘Papa Pizza’. One day the owner asked me if I could cook in the kitchen as he had lost his chef. I was more than happy as I always loved cooking and started right away. He was very impressed with me and soon offered me a partnership in the restaurant, but I told him I could only be in partnership with my husband.
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In 1976 we were missing our families back home so much. So that year we decided to go back home to see everyone, staying in Italy for 6 months. The offer of partnership as a chef had stirred my deep passion for cooking (that I inherited from my mother). I felt I had so much to offer and wanted to contribute in promoting authentic Italian cuisine here in Melbourne.
So my husband and I, together with with my brother in law and a family friend decided to create ‘Brussio’ in 1977, a restaurant in Smith Street, Collingwood. Our home made pasta and characteristic regional Italian dishes made this little restaurant become very popular with fantastic and heart warming reviews from many journalists.
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However, we still missed a lot of our family back in Italy. In 1980 we sold Brussio with 3 months fully booked out and returned to Italy once more and opened a small Rotisserie restaurant. But it was not meant to be.
My husband started to develop heart problems and so in 1984 we came back to Australia. We had missed the tranquillity of the place and decided to settle here for good in Brunswick East.
We started again working very hard, until one day the place where it all began was for sale. We felt it was destiny, and bought Papa Pizza. This was a perfect opportunity.
So in April 1985 we open the doors to ‘Zia Teresa Restaurant’ were it all began. My husband built tables, I made the table cloths, and we worked hard to make the place look as nice as possible. Soon we acquired an excellent reputation and grew to become very popular. Our home made pasta and completely new dishes people had never tasted before were our specialty.
Zia Teresa became the destination to enjoy authentic Italian food. Sadly, 4 years later, my husband died following heart complications and I was suddenly left on my own with three young children. It took all my strength and a lot of hardship to keep going, but I wanted to keep our dream alive, I know that’s what my husband wanted for our family.
Today, ‘Zia Teresa’ is well known and popularly frequented by people from all over Melbourne, Australia and around the world. We pride ourselves as a welcoming restaurant where all our faithful customers, regulars, old and new, are treated as part of our family.
I wake up every morning with new ideas and new tasty dishes in mind. My passion for cooking and my love for people makes me feel alive! The happier our customers are the more creative I become with my cooking. I hand pick my produce, making sure it is fresh and full of flavour. I never compromise on quality.I look forward to meeting you. Come, sit down, let us look after you. Relax and enjoy our food and wine. We trust it’ll be a meal you’ll always remember with a smile."
With Love, Zia Teresa