The story so far....
When it comes to Italian cafés and restaurants, Bill & Toni’s is a Sydney landmark, known around the world.
Stanley Street was the centre of Sydney's original Italian community in the 1950s and 1960s, and was subsequently Sydney's first "Little Italy". The success of the few Italian cafes and restaurants on Stanley Street continued. From inexpensive to expensive, Stanley Street’s Italian cafes and restaurants catered to one and all and they still exist on the street today.
Guglielmo (Bill) Chiappini first opened his café on Stanley Street on 1965. At the time it was known as the San Siro Coffee Lounge.
The early 1970’s saw a new dawning for food in Sydney. Baby boomers wanted to eat out and try new foods. French and Italian cuisine flourished. Bill decided to build a restaurant above San Siro. In 1972 Toni de Santis and Adolfo Fasciani commenced selling authentic Italian food to many of the inner city Italian immigrants and others hungry for good food.
They agreed on a simple name, Bill & Toni’s Café and Restaurant although the name San Siro still appears as testament to the past. Bill managed the café downstairs while Toni and Adolfo managed the restaurant upstairs.
Word soon spread and Sydney-siders were coming to Stanley Street in droves to enjoy inexpensive, wholesome Italian food and real coffee.
Stanley Street attracted more and more diners as Sydney discovered its love of restaurant dining. The term “cheap and cheerful” owes its heritage to the early 70’s. Bill & Toni’s made it famous and still does.
In 1986 Bill retired and Cesare Zucaro came on board to run the café. Toni, Adolfo and Cesare worked hard to continue the tradition that had been built over the past twenty years.
Bill & Toni’s world-wide reputation for good food, great coffee and an atmosphere that made everyone feel “at home” grew. It became, and still is, a home away from home for many people.
Continuing the Bill & Toni’s legacy was the next generation of owners. Australian born Italians Domenic Zucaro, David, Robert and James de Santis worked hard, as their parents did, to ensure the tradition continued. Adolfo’s niece Eva Santilli joined the café staff in 1986 and continues on today as chief barista.
Fast forward to 2007, the de Santis brothers needed a change. Domenic was now the owner of the café and restaurant. Nothing changed. Bill & Toni’s continued to offer great coffee and tasty, inexpensive Italian food. Large portions and small prices made Bill & Toni’s everyone’s favourite place to eat. But the street had changed. Foods from around the world now dotted Stanley Street. But good, honest, inexpensive food and great coffee kept Bill & Toni’s alive.
In 2013 a new owner and a new lease of life was given to an ailing Bill & Toni’s. The owner and general manager, both long time patrons, have vowed to keep the tradition going. Great food, great coffee, and value for money are our creed. Together with happy staff and quality suppliers, our customers keep coming back, again and again.
We are proud to be serving four generations of Bill & Toni’s customers. Sometimes all at once! We are extremely proud to still be serving Sydney’s best coffee to customers who first set foot in the place in 1965.
The Bill & Toni’s legacy continues.