When industrious Sicilian couple Joseph and Carmela Agricola set up their commercial dressmaking workshop in Plenty Road in the late 1960s, Preston was a very different place. No sourdough, no espresso and definitely no negronis.
Today, with the opening of Sartoria eatery, the coffee and cocktails are flowing and Preston has officially achieved "hot-right-now" status.
After 15 years in New York City, Joseph and Carmela's daughter Adriana has come home to give the family's light-filled old building a new lease on life.
"For years, my father wanted me to do something with the space, but the time wasn't right," says Agricola, a trained actor and hospitality veteran. "Then I saw all the changes going on in Preston. It's definitely the right time."
The beautifully designed eatery has specialty coffee, killer cocktails and gun chef-for-hire Jason Shiong (Di Bella Coffee Roasting Warehouse, Longrain) directing the menu.
Adriana Agricola, who, with her two siblings, grew up living upstairs, clearly has a soft spot for the space and is justifiably proud of its resurrection. It incorporates quirky touches referencing the building's past as a clothing factory – think busts, sewing machines, tape measures, old photographs and reams of fabric. There's a nice 30-seat courtyard out front, too.
Menu picks include a sticky black rice pudding with coconut and black chia jelly and matcha foam (it's called "the Necchi", after a sewing machine), and "the Seamstress" waffle hash brown with beetroot, pea puree and poached eggs.
In true New York style, brunch cocktails are "a thing" – think mimosa, espresso martini and Agricola's take on the bloody mary, with fresh horseradish and a stick of crisp prosciutto (it's good, trust us). In a couple of weeks they'll add a daily aperitivo session with drinks and charcuterie, from 3pm-6pm.
You'll also find coffee (including batch brew and cold drip) by CBD roastery Where's Marcel?, and 5 & Dime bagels, Butterbing cookie sandwiches, pastries by Noisette and Monsieur Truffe hot chocolate.
Open Mon-Fri 7am-4pm; Sat-Sun 8am-4pm.
115 Plenty Road, Preston, 03 9480 5664