Café Notturno says goodbye after nearly half a century 

Café Notturno says goodbye after nearly half a century 
Brendan Rees

Café Notturno, a beloved restaurant of the Lygon St dining scene for the past 45 years, has closed its doors with the owner saying the memories would “last a lifetime”.  

It marks a sad end of an era for the institution which has been a staple of Carlton’s vibrant Italian community with past guests including the late Mark “Chopper” Read and Formula One driver Michael Schumacher.  

Affectionally known as “Notties”, the restaurant’s last day of trading was on Sunday, August 27.

Owner Salvatore Cultrera revealed the heart-breaking news of the closure in a post on the café’s Facebook page, saying the restaurant had been sold, nearly half a century after it opened in 1978. 

“A big thank you to all the fantastic people I’ve met along the way. I want you all to know how special it’s been over the 30 years I’ve been here, and friendship will last forever,” he said.

“From Lygon St Festas, World Cup soccer and Euros [tournaments] with success in the 1982, 2006 and more recent 2020 through COVID, what an amazing experience.”

“For myself as the owner for 20 years and 10 years before that working here as a kid my journey with Notturno started back in 1989. 

His cousin Sal Germano joined him in 2003 in helping him run the business. 

Mr Cultrera also met his wife Linda at Café Notturno in 1990, saying he was “forever grateful” for her support, and “now we can focus on our next venture in life with our little grandson Jayden”.

In his message, Mr Cultrera also thanked his children Elle, Vanessa, and Joseph “who grew up in Notturno and all worked their way through the cafe over the years”.

“I’m so fortunate and proud of all of them,” he said.

“Once again thank you for everyone’s support over the years and I will miss Notties so, so much, but also very excited for what’s next for me and my family.”

Mr Cultrera said the restaurant had been a significant part of his life and wished the new tenants “the very best”. •

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