COVID-19 will change the face of hospitality forever, and for some operators it will be for the better. Kirsty Chiaplias, owner of Carlton North's beloved Turkish-Middle Eastern cafe Babajan, has turned her shop (as many operators have) into a provedore, but she won't look back when lockdown ends.
She has built in towering shelves to house sourdough, Aleppo peppers, pickles and Turkish wines. There are large fridges for her dips, slow-cooked lamb shoulder, moussaka, soups and boreks.
"The pandemic has brought on a lot of stress and pressure, but it also enabled me to change things in my business that I have wanted to for a long time," Chiaplias says.
Ready-to-eat dishes will still be available as takeaway, including a Turkish fish sandwich (balik ekmek) with sumac onions.
The cakes and hefty salads the cafe has built its reputation on will still dominate the front cabinets.
Chiaplias is also branching out the offering, selling milk, cheese, bread, olive oils and fresh produce so you can do most of your shop either in-store, or online (where a 10 per cent discount applies).
Babajan is open from 8am-3pm daily during lockdown with potentially longer hours to follow at 713 Nicholson Street, Carlton North.
Online orders can be picked up at 9am for locals, or delivered within 15km for $15 (free over $100); babajan.com.au, 03 9388 9814.