Preston cafe Tyler's Milk Bar keeps it local and retro

Bacon and egg muffins (pictured), crumpets and salad sandwiches are part of the retro-inspired menu at Tyler's.
Bacon and egg muffins (pictured), crumpets and salad sandwiches are part of the retro-inspired menu at Tyler's. Photo: Tom Dowling

Anyone who grew up buying 10-cent lolly bags and playing arcade games at the local milk bar will feel the time warp at Tyler's, a new Preston addition from sisters Sam and Alli Fisher. The pair, who live locally, wanted to revive what they see as a cornerstone of Australian communities that has new relevance in our current lives.

"The milk bar was a place I went every weekend with my dad, to buy the newspaper and get a Freddo Frog that the guy who worked there slipped into the newspaper," says Sam.

Tyler's has all the hallmarks of a classic milk bar – finger buns, milkshakes, loaves of bread for sale – but has its feet firmly in 2021, stocking products that support local makers and encourage low-waste shopping.

Family business Tyler's Milk Bar.
Family business Tyler's Milk Bar. Photo: Tom Dowling

"We started with Preston and then worked our way outwards," says Sam, explaining what's on the shelves of the former office building.

Bread comes from Back Alley Bakes, 800 metres away, jars of pickled jalapenos are from fellow Prestonite Niko's Chillin' Chilli, and Coburg's Really Good Chocolate brings plant-based sweetness. There's also milk from Saint David's Dairy and Schulz, Pepe Saya butter and bulk bins for flour, sugar, rice and more. Bringing your own containers is encouraged.

But there's plenty of fun in the mix. The 20-seater is splashed with yellow, red and swinging-'60s accents such as paisley, and the Fishers plan to install a vintage gum ball machine that operates with 20-cent coins.

Inside the new cafe and general store in Preston.
Inside the new cafe and general store in Preston. Photo: Kirsten McKechnie

Honey joys and Boston buns are in the cake cabinet while those dining in can opt for baked bean toasties, croque-monsieurs or Wildwood crumpets. Takeaway-friendly items include three-cheese toasties and classic salad sangas.

Padre Coffee is made by Kim Fisher, the sisters' mum, for a true family affair, while herbal teas from Warndu feature native Australian ingredients. And don't forget the spider, already a hit with locals.

Open Tues-Fri 6.30am-4pm, Sat-Sun 7.30am-2pm.

656 Plenty Road, Preston,