by Jodi Panayotov
The quaint tree lined shopping precinct known as Stones Corner had its origins in 1875 when its land was sold as a .4 ha allotment to James Stone, who built a slab hut on the corner of Old Cleveland Rd and Logan Rd and sold refreshments to passing travellers. Unable to gain the liquor license he sought he resorted to peddling his own brand of ginger beer (which has been resurrected commercially today as James Stone Ginger beer) and in 1887 sold it to a man who promptly built the two storey Junction Hotel on the site, which still stands today as the Stones Corner Hotel.
In its hundred and twenty year history as a commercial hub Stones Corner has had its ups and downs with its retail heyday in the 1950's and a brief stint decades later as the in-spot for outlet shopping. Now it is on the cusp of another resurrection led by a new swarm of funky cafes, ethnic delis, coffee nooks and eclectic shops and backed by the new Eastern Busway station. As such here's a rough street crawl guide, starting on the corner where it all began:
In recent years owners have stripped back this landmark hotel to its raw brick original state, accentuating its history and making it a really pleasant place to enjoy a drink or a pub meal, although outside under the jacaranda tree (planted as a memorial to a lost husband & son) is the prized people watching spot.
Across Old Cleveland Rd from the hotel is a little shopping square, home to Govinda's vegetarian restaurant and this little gem of a Middle Eastern grocery store. Inside can be found a great range of Afghani, Persian and other Mid-eastern groceries, products and cookware. If wondering what to buy, pistachios, Persian fairy floss, ayran (natural yoghurt drinks) and Iranian sweets in their decorative tins all come recommended.
This fabulous café, in another stripped back raw brick heritage corner building on Old Cleveland Rd, can take the credit for sparking a new lease of life back into Stones Corner after all the outlet shops that once filled the streets departed for the airport. Dishing up delish food (the breakfasts are exceptional), top coffee and all in a funky-as-hell setting this one is a must for any visitors to the Corner.
Everything old is new again and everything new old at this quirky nostalgic boutique (opposite the Stones Corner Hotel), which stocks a mix of rockabilly, roller derby and vintage-inspired fashion (think Hell Bunny & Tripp NYC) as well as custom accessories and fab handmade jewellery by Ursula herself.
Tucked halfway down the tiny 1950's tiled Conomos Arcade near Ursalady is this fantastic little tea shop which is not only a brilliant source of all manner of teas and tea-making paraphernalia but the owner is a fountain of knowledge about the role of different teas in health and well-being.
Stoneham Lane, the tiny laneway that leads off the rear Logan Rd side of the Stones Corner Hotel has a couple of visit-worthy inhabitants including this fab little espresso hut whose ceilings are adorned with coffee sacks and walls hung with art. The perfect retreat for a top coffee, some free wi-fi and and delish sweet treats from a local bakery.
Sharing the lane with Grindhouse is this funky little Mexican taqueria, a vision of wall art, rustic furniture and cacti. Drop by for some fresh made salsa, guacamole and corn chips featuring in all manner of Mexican street food – tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas and with bottles of picante sauce on the tables to spice it up.
Pull up a stool on the astro turf patch outside or head in to the depths of this long narrow café/gallery where a cool dark library nook and couches await. Upstairs on the mezzanine is a little art gallery which is devoted to exhibiting local works where it can and is worth a look or just hang out downstairs with some good café fare and a book from next door.
A bright cosy indie bookshop, Books@Stones stocks a compact but excellent range of books with an emphasis on quality Australian literature – fiction and non-fiction. There's also a great range of children's books and a colourful reading corner with mats and stools for children and a couch and coffee table for adults.
While businesses have come and gone, further down Logan Rd Brusnica Deli has stayed, a stalwart of Eastern European (Serbian, Croatian & Bosnian specialists) groceries and deli products. Here's the place to stock up on Bulgarian sheep cheese, Pork Hock and Sarajevo salami or take home some Bosnian coffee beans or snack on a Burek (traditional flaky pastry filled with cheese and spinach or beef and onion).
Other shops worth a look are Mona Lisa's (next to Ursalady Creations) – an eclectic boho mix of fashion, homewares and accessories, Jorj, an unassuming fashion boutique (down near Brusnica at the Greenslopes end of Logan Rd), which stocks urban wear by Pink Stitch, Sass and Living Doll and, down Jeavons Lane on the corner of Cleveland St, the long-established family shoe shop Beard Shoes for groovy functional footwear including Doc Martens, Converse, Birkenstock and Skechers for both adults and children.
Car: Park in any side street or Coles building.
Bus: Via Eastern Busway from Eastern suburbs to Capalaba or Buranda.
Bike: A great bike ride from Annerley or from Norman Park via off road bikeways.
© Must Do Brisbane