Pope Joan, the Nicholson Street cafe that taught Melbourne how to party with black pudding at breakfast, is closing on Sunday, June 24 to make way for a seven-storey apartment development.
The cafe has been running on the site for the past eight years, in which time former Circa chef Matt Wilkinson developed one of Melbourne's prototype urban kitchen gardens and wrote the fine-dining-goes-cafe blueprint.
"I thought the end would come sooner but hoped it would come later," says Wilkinson. "I know it's going to be an emotional month."
Over the final four weeks, dinner will be held every Friday night to give some of Wilkinson's classics such as Milawa chicken kiev a final spin. They'll be running a greatest hits menu during the day too, including the Kinda Full English breakfast, the reuben sandwich, and the Pope huevos – a guac, egg and chorizo breakfast situation to be reckoned with.
Sadly it means the end of Wilkinson's summer camp cookouts, although he hopes to reprise the idea somehow.
But thankfully, his next-door venture, the Pie Shop, is safe from building plans, a least for now, and will pastry on.
Aside from the Pie Shop, Wilkinson says he has no firm plans after June 24. "I'm just going to relax a bit and see where things lead."
Pope Joan will open daily 7am-3pm until June 24 and for dinner on Fridays from June 1-22.
77-79 Nicholson Street, Brunswick East, 03 9388 8858, popejoan.com.au.