Celebrating the City of Melbourne’s long-standing businesses

5 December 2023

Melbourne is full of fantastic small business success stories. We celebrate the people behind inner-city businesses that have stood the test of time with our Lord Mayor’s Small Business Achievement Awards.

Among the recipients are legends who have been in business in the city for 10+, 20+ and 40+ years. Below are just a handful of this year’s 50 impressive awardees. To read about more of Melbourne’s brilliant businesses, visit Economy.

Julie Boening at American Doughnut Kitchen

American Doughnut Kitchen
73 years

Those queues at Queen Victoria Market lead to one of Melbourne’s best-loved treats – a sugar-coated, jam-filled delight of a doughnut served out of a vintage bus since 1950. Julie Boening, whose father was one of the founders, has warm memories of time spent bagging up doughnuts.

“Lots of people come for the theatrics. Early in the morning people stand outside and watch the staff rolling the dough and cutting it out by hand,” Julie said.

“Once cooked, the doughnuts get turned into a tray. Jam is put in using a hand-pumped machine, then they’re put in the sugar bowl to coat them nicely.”

Read more of American Doughnut Kitchen’s story.

Listen to a version of this story from our print magazine, recorded by Vision Australia
A person holding a short drink inside a bar.
Andrew Leonedas at Carlton Yacht Club

Carlton Yacht Club
21 years

Located behind a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it door, in a sea of espresso bars and cucinas in the heart of Little Italy, this Lygon Street gem will make you feel a world away… perhaps on the Amalfi Coast with a Limoncello in hand.

“I came up with the name as it represents the relaxed environment I wanted to create and constructed cocktails and added decor to suit. Customers love the name and the irony that Carlton has no water,” owner Andrew Leonedas said.

“Over the bar’s 21-year history it has seen a few changes but the heart and soul of the place has remained the same. The focus was always to provide patrons with a comfortable and friendly atmosphere.”

Read more about Carlton Yacht Club’s journey.

Prabjett (Pat) Oberoi at Le Taj Restaurant and Lounge

Le Taj Restaurant and Lounge
17 years

Do you dare to taste Melbourne’s hottest curry? If it’s heat you seek, Le Taj Restaurant and Lounge in West Melbourne serves a bhut jolokia made with Naga Viper or “ghost” peppers. Owner Prabjett (Pat) Oberoi says it’s “five times hotter than vindaloo”.

“Each dish on the menu tells a story of the vibrant Indian culinary traditions passed down through generations. All dishes are adapted authentic north Indian recipes,” Pat said.

“We feel really honoured to be recognised after successfully running this business for the past 17 years.”

Read more about Le Taj’s story.

Midwife Jan Ireland with pink hair stands with a sculpture in front of a large image of a baby
Jan Ireland from MAMA Services

MAMA Services
12 years

Bringing babies into the world with joy and kindness is the life’s work of MAMA director Jan Ireland. Based in Kensington, Jan and her team offer holistic care to reduce birth trauma and postnatal depression, and to help new parents have more positive experiences.

“My wish is that every single person who’s pregnant has someone who cares about them. I can tell you that doesn’t always happen,” Jan said.

“MAMA midwives are very special. You’re caring about the woman – making a care plan for that woman and her family that reflects her wishes.”

Read more of MAMA’s story.

For more information, visit Lord Mayor’s Small Business Awards.

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