1/7 Union Street, Adelaide, South Australia
(08) 8227 2772
Situated just off Rundle St in Adelaide’s East End, Penny University occupies a tiny space that is bursting with life Monday to Friday. In its first year of operation it has already built a reputation for serving up excellent coffee, quick breakfasts and delicious lunches to hungry locals.
Penny University is operated by brothers Foti and Hristo Likouras, who each have years of hospitality experience between them. They grew up in their father’s restaurant and were surrounded by food from a young age. This experience is reflected in the quality of food and coffee at Penny University.
The name was inspired by 18th century coffee houses in London, where patrons would be charged a penny to enter, in exchange for access to coffee, news and company. The melting pot environment, where people could interact regardless of social status, became a breeding ground for exchanging ideas. This theme has been kept in mind with the use of space at the cafe, where the relaxed interiors allow for a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, and communal seating allows for the chance to strike up a conversation. Out the front, you can pull up a crate and sip your latte while watching all the action nearby on Ebenezer place.
The brothers have collaborated on a small but tasty menu featuring some of their own favourite dishes. They are aware of their busy location and the need to provide quick and convenient meals alongside tasty takeaway options – there’s a side window, where you can order a freshly made salad or gourmet roll to go. Inside, the breakfast menu may be small, but it is a hit list of favourites that you will want to go back for, like the shakshuka and French toast. The corn fritters are a standout option, served with bacon and avocado and cooked to perfection.
The menu is on weekly rotation, using the freshest produce available, delivered daily from the nearby Adelaide Central Market. There are also plenty of lunch options and if you’ve got a sweet tooth then you can indulge in homemade wagon-wheels, Portuguese tarts and all manner of delicious slices.
A key element of the warm and communal atmosphere at Penny University is the staff, who provide excellent service and welcome you inside as though you are an old friend. The cafe is a hub of activity and leaves you full of energy that may not just be from the caffeine. Pop by, you might just learn something.