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The End of an Era

By Rupert Truscott-Hughes on October 11, 2016 in News

Photo: James Hutton

Photo: James Hutton

Businesses come and go all the time around Bondi. If you walked down Hall Street today for the first time in ten years, for example, you probably wouldn’t recognise the joint. Sure, there are some stayers, but they are few and far between. Most of those that have survived in Bondi for more than a decade are ‘institutions’. So when one of these institutions that has stood the test of time closes its doors, it’s understandable that it has quite an impact.

Last month Jed’s Foodstore closed its doors after 17 years of operation. It came as a massive surprise, even to its regulars, of which there were many. Calling it an ‘outpouring of grief’ may be taking a little too much poetic license, but the disappointment was certainly real. Sure, they’ll all find somewhere else to go get their coffee, but it just won’t be the same.

I’m only a relatively recent convert to Jed’s. I was actually introduced to the place by the gents who own this very magazine (from what I know The Beast was actually born over a couple of Baby Js and a 50/50 bowl in the café’s eastern corner). I’d been in for brunch on weekends before, but didn’t really see it as a place I’d want to go to for my daily morning fix, or as somewhere to wile away an afternoon with the SMH crossword and a large pot of chai. Too busy, too much attitude, I thought. I was wrong.

On first impressions, particularly on a weekend, Jed’s did seem this way. Owners Megan and Roberto aren’t known to suffer fools. On a busy Saturday morning in summer, when the blow-ins and posers (like myself) were lined up outside the door, you could expect a bit of curry with your eggs kurosawa. They wanted to seat you, serve you, then get you the hell out of there. People were waiting and they didn’t want to turn them away. It is the weekend trade that keeps Bondi businesses alive, and if you don’t push through the covers, you perish.

A weekday at Jed’s couldn’t have been more different. What you mistook for attitude on Sunday, you soon realise is an endearing combination of dry-wit and a no-bullshit approach to getting the job done when confronted with hundreds of hungry patrons. It may have taken a while, but given time Megan and Roberto really grew on me, and I’m not the only one to echo this sentiment.

Jed’s was their pride and joy (along with their son, Nesta). It was my place of sanctuary. It was egalitarian. I became good friends with other Jed’s patrons, more often than not introduced by one of the two owners. We sat together and attempted to solve the problems of the world. When I bitched and moaned about whatever it was that was getting my goat, they listened. We laughed. A lot. They also served up some bloody tasty food and I can’t recall getting a bad coffee, even when Megan was behind the machine!

Five hundred words is not enough to do justice to Jed’s. It was an institution. It was an extension of my lounge room. It will be missed.