Richmond’s Pillar of Salt always seem to be one step ahead. They create an effortless quintessential ‘true-Melbournian-vibe’ with large open windows, earthy interior and a rear courtyard. The trendsetting name this café has made for itself can be attributed to the ever-changing menu and innovative dishes. It is no wonder there is a constant flow of customers wanting to experience this rare Jewell in suburban Melbourne. We sat down with Costa Zervoutikis to gain more insight.
Mon – Fri: 7.30am – 4.30pm
Sat – Sun: 8am – 5pm
$ $ $
How would you describe the menu at Pillar of Salt?
Rustic with good portion size. We don’t copy anyone. Every time we change items on the menu it comes from the Chefs and I throwing around ideas. We do testing days on Wednesdays when all the management is in. In these sessions, we try to nail flavor, portion size and decide how each dish will be plated up!
What has lead you to owning one of Melbourne’s most successful cafes?
When I was young I worked for free for one whole year in cafes just to gain experience. At 22 I bought my first café in Cambridge. Before Pillar of Salt I also owned a Sandwich Bar, a Juice Bar and a French Baguette Shop.
What makes Pillar of Salt stand out compared to other Melbourne Cafes?
We don’t copy anyone, we are creators, people copy us. We create our own dishes, we use books, magazines and the internet. We get ideas and turn them into new dishes.
When I bought Pillar of Salt I said to the manager and head chef “There are no rules, we make the rules”.
What do you love about hospitality?
I love people. I like to blend in and be on the floor. When people ask me if I’m on the owner and tell me positive things about their experience in my cafe, for me, it’s something you can’t put a price on. When you put a plate down and everyone goes “wow” and takes out their phones to take photos, it’s a pretty good feeling.
How would you describe the interior design of Pillar of Salt?
I believe earth and wood colors give you a warm feeling so that’s what I’ve tried to do. I don’t want to expand it because I don’t want to lose that nice warm feeling we currently have. Pillar of Salt always has a good vide and I want to keep that.
How did Pillar of Salt get its name?
It’s actually a biblical term, “Lots white, she turned around and became a Pillar of Salt”.
What’s something people might not know about the café?
Henry the dog is one of the things our customers love. He is all over our instagram. He is our managers dog. He sits in the courtyard 4 days a week. He generally comes out at 12:00 and 3:00. The customers love it!
What’s your favourite dish on the menu?
The gnocchi! But the tri-californian super salad and the chili eggs are two dishes that have never been altered and will never come off the menu!