Nick Macris doing what he does best before retirement this year.

A Yass icon at Liberty Cafe on the main street, Nick Macris has finally hung up his apron this year to retire.

The old school diner has been running smoothly under Nick’s keen eye for 25 years, however, due to some health problems he at last retired and moved in with his daughter, Miranda, in Campbelltown, Sydney earlier this year. Now Nick said he’s feeling much better just in time for Christmas.

At 81 years young, Nick was born in Greece in 1940 and migrated to Australia in 1963 when he was just 23.

Just six years later he bought the Hume Café in Yass in 1969 where he stayed for 12 years and started a family with then wife Popi Macris.

Nick sold the café in 1981 and moved his family – Bill, George and Miranda – to Penrith to open another chicken shop in the area.

He said hospitality was a good occupation because it was really nice to talk to people all day.

Nick advises – “If you’re nice to people, they’re nice to you.”

In 1991 Nick and his family had another change of scenery and moved to Terrigal on the Central Coast about an hour and a half north of Sydney.

There he bought the well-known Terrigal Charcoal Chicken shop on the esplanade with a brilliant view of the beach and many sandy patrons.

George said his father has always been very loyal to his shops.

“All my dad’s done is worked,” he said. “He’s very welded to his work.”

“He used to say to me, if there were more hours in a day, he would work them, he’s a funny man,” George said.

Nick soon moved back to Yass where he ran the local chicken shop famous for its pork rolls – The Liberty Café.

Grandson Nicolas, Nick, son George, and grandson Micheal

“It was really good, I was really happy with Yass people,” Nick said. “They were very friendly and helpful.”

Tragically in 2007 Nick lost his eldest son, Bill, when he was just 33 in a house fire in Sydney.

“I was in Yass at the shop counter when they told me and then I left to go to Sydney,” he said.

George said Bill’s death crushed his father and Nick threw himself into his work.

“When I came back to Yass I worked, worked, worked, because I couldn’t forget,” Nick said.

“I was really happy with Yass people, I still have good friends there and they call me every day,” Nick said. “I have to come up one day and see all of them.”

Loyal local customer Lynn Eade and Liberty Cafes Nick Macris

Simply put, George said his dad, Nick, is a good man.

“He really is just a good man,” he said. “He’s been good to everyone – Very generous and always helps everyone out but he’s always been like that.”

“I used to tell him out in Yass to stop looking after people all the time, but Dad’s Dad, he won’t change.”

George said ever since he could remember his father always wanted to feed people.

“He’s always been like that with all my friends, my sister’s friends, always feeding everyone.”

“Everyone had to eat when they came around,” George said. “He always loved to cook for them.”

Nick would sponsor all of George’s soccer teams with his local shop and was a vocal supporter from the sidelines.

“He’s a legend, he really is,” he said. “Everywhere he’s gone from Terrigal to Penrith to Yass, everyone loves him.”

It seems business entrepreneurship is in the blood. Nick’s daughter Miranda runs her own retail business in MacArthur Square in Campbelltown and George opened Kearns Chicken Shop in March 2021.

His father was reportedly very proud when George followed in his footsteps and opened his own chicken shop.

Now Nick wants to wish all the people in Yass a very Merry Christmas this year and said he hopes to visit soon.

By Brianna O’Rourke