Harry’s Cafe De Wheels

Sitting proudly in Woolloomooloo Bay, Sydney, is one of Australia’s most famous and enduring culinary institutions. It is none other that the world famous Harry’s Cafe de Wheels.

If Sydney nominated a spiritual home for late night snacking, it would be here.

Harry’s pies has occupied it’s spot between Woolloomooloo and Kings Cross for more than 70 years, serving classic Australian pies, hot dogs and pasties to hungry Sydneysiders. Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Elton John, and a whole bunch of other famous faces have made their way through a pie or two at Harry’s over the years. If Sydney nominated a spiritual home for late night snacking, it would be here.

The unique name comes from the 1940s when food truck owner Harry Edwards had to obey a ruling from the district council which stated that all food caravans had to move at least 12 inches a day. Dutifully following the rules, Harry added ‘Cafe de Wheels’ to the name and moved the caravan 12 inches back and forth every day.  Legend has it that Harry temporarily changed it’s name to ‘Cafe De Axel’ when someone stole the wheels. From it’s early days, Harry’s became known as a place where people came to eat and be treated the same. It didn’t matter if you were a docker or a judge, you’d get the same service and have to wait your turn in line. 

The Tiger is a monster of a pie, piled high with mash, peas, and gravy.

Pie enthusiasts will try the ‘Tiger’ which is a monster of a pie piled high with mash, peas, and gravy. Once you crack open the puff pastry lid you get to a melt in your mouth lean beef filling, classic Australian pie territory and quite honestly, one of the best pies I have ever tried.  I’m told that the tradition in Australia is to eat a meat pie with your hands, but thankfully the Tiger bends the rules because of the towering mash and peas by offering a fork. If you’re after something a little different, you can try out one of Harry’s curry pies or chilli dogs which come with insane amounts of hot fresh chilli. 

The original Harry’s Cafe De Wheels was taken out of service in the 1980s and it was donated to the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences. The replacement was a bigger, less mobile pie van that can serve a few more people and still sits proudly in the same spot as the original, only now it doesn’t have to shift itself 12 inches every day! Anyone visiting Sydney should definitely check out this institution, take a second to take a look at the many famous faces that have stuffed themselves over the years, and enjoy some of the finest pies known to humanity.

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