our story

Nestled in the backstreets of Richmond near the MCG and tucked away from the daily grind of modern life, we have been serving our local community for over 60 years. Opening originally as a general store and milk bar in 1956 we quickly became a central hub of activity for locals, footy crowds and visitors.

Over the years we have evolved into a cafe and food store, and yet have stayed true to our milk bar roots. Our warm hospitality and nostalgic atmosphere are reminders of the old world, where you can take the time to slow down and enjoy.

est. 1956

In the year of the Melbourne Olympics, Richmond was a working class suburb bustling with industry and immigrants. With a dense population of 35,000 working class people who all needed to service their lives by foot, strip shops such as Bridge Rd and Swan St were central hubs.

Although these strips provided general shopping, smaller localised versions peppered the suburb. One such strip was Rowena Parade. Made up of two milk bars, a green grocer, a butcher, a dry cleaner and various others stores, the Rowena strip serviced the daily needs of the local community. Today the Rowena Corner Store stands alone in representation of what used to be.


Rowena Corner Store established itself as the general store for the local community, providing everyday items such as food, lollies, milkshakes and toiletries. We quickly became a bustling centre of activity on Richmond Hill, opening at 6.30am and closing at 10pm.

The store welcomed kids on their way to school, parents seeking lunch for work, and footy crowds looking for half-time snacks and drinks.

There were a number of families who ran the store through the decades, each adding their own touch and creating lasting memories for the generations that grew up in this building.


By 2000, the Rowena Corner Store had seen better days. After almost half a century of service the old girl was in need of some serious TLC.

A ground-up renovation occurred and the modern era of the store began. Whilst holding true to its milkbar roots, the new store now had a clearer focus on wholesome food, great coffee and sensational milkshakes.

With family running front of house, and Mamma in the kitchen, Rowena quickly became a favourite food destination in Melbourne.


On November 24th 2016 we celebrated our 60th birthday party in true neighbourly fashion, with a street party.

We had lamb on the spits going, face painting, a live Greek band (and Greek dancing to go with it), Moondog Brewery beer and other 300 people.

It was a moment in time where the store’s past and present came together.