First opened in 1945 by a returned serviceman, Ohio Cafe has been serving up hamburgers on the same patch of Sandgate Road for nearly seventy years. Named for a hamburger shop once visited by Popeye the Sailor Man, the place has changed hands, but has traded under the same name since its inception. Apparently, even the burger recipe has remained unchanged since the 1960s.
No historical digging was necessary to uncover this information. A brief history of the establishment hangs proudly on the walls of Ohio Cafe, along with black and white photographs that track the changing face of not only the cafe, but also the Clayfield area immediately surrounding it.
In Brisbane, nostalgia is rare capital for a restaurant though thankfully, Ohio Cafe resists the urge to affectedly overstate its heritage via the decor. At the same time it avoids succumbing to trends and looks decidedly, even defiantly not hip. More's the charm. The place looks just like what it is – an old fashioned milk bar. An illustrated chalk board is raised high above the food preparation console, lined with glass display cabinets – a setup now usually relegated to side of the road pit-stops.
The food too is of a bygone era. Ohio Cafe's namesake burger consists of two generously sized, lightly toasted buns, just able to corral layers of double meat, double bacon, double cheese, egg, lettuce, tomato, beetroot and pineapple. No brioche buns or dainty sliders necessary to embellish the unfussy preparation of good, simple ingredients.
Though the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus offer a fairly diverse range of items (including the ever inviting mixed grill), it is difficult to pass up a burger. Chase it with a butterscotch milkshake, a raspberry ice cream soda, or even a spider; the 'good old days' after all, is Ohio Cafe's stock-in-trade.