Harry's Cafe de Wheels
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|Take Away - (pie cart)|
|Founder||Harry "Tiger" Edwards|
|Products||Take Away - (pie cart)|
Harry's Cafe de Wheels is an iconic pie cart located in Woolloomooloo, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on Cowper Wharf Road, near the Finger Wharf and Fleet Base East of Garden Island Navy Base, opposite the Woolloomooloo Bay Hotel.
Ten other Harry's Cafe de Wheels operate in Wharf Road, Newcastle; Capitol Square, Haymarket; North Parramatta, Tempe; Liverpool; Burwood; Penrith; George Street, Sydney; and Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach.
They are best known for their dish "Tiger Pie", a type of Australian meat pie named after the original founder of Harry's.
Harry's Cafe de Wheels is a moveable food van, similar to those found at funfairs, with a hung awning. It has been moved a number of times in its history but the van is now permanently fixed on a masonry base. The caravan walls have been decorated with custom painted murals by Alan Puckett, a motoring art specialist. The inside walls of the cart are decorated with pictures and murals of famous visitors.
The site is considered a Sydney icon and an institution in the local area. The significance of the location is reflected by its inclusion on the New South Wales National Trust register.
Harry's pies are supplied from Hannah's Pies, its factory in the inner city suburb of Ultimo.
Harry "Tiger" Edwards opened the original caravan cafe, named simply Harry's, near the gates of the Woolloomooloo Naval Yard in 1938. He served with the AIF in World War II, during which time the cafe was not operational. The cart re-opened upon his return from the war in 1945.
The name Cafe de Wheels came about because of the requirement from the city council that mobile food caravans had to move a minimum of 12 inches (30 cm) each day. The cart has been moved to various locations on Cowper Wharf road over the last 70 years, mostly due to re-development work in the Woolloomooloo Bay area. Local legend tells that the name was temporarily changed to Cafe de Axle at one point when the wheels were stolen. It was referred to as Harry the Axle's for most of the sixties throughout the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.
As the years passed, 'Harry's Cafe de Wheels' gained new fame as a tourist attraction. A visit to the caravan became a 'must' for visiting celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Robert Mitchum and Marlene Dietrich. In 1974, Colonel Sanders stopped at Harry's and enjoyed the food so much that he ate three 'pies and peas' while leaning on his walking stick in front of the caravan. A picture of Sanders taken during the visit still hangs in the caravan today.
The pies and hotdogs available on the menu include:
- The famous Tiger pie and its variations (Bacon and Cheese Tiger, Veggie Tiger)
- Pie and Peas
- Seafood Pie
- Hot Dog with veggies
- Hot dog de wheels
- Chilli dog
- Dirty Sanchez
In popular culture
- Australian singer Peter Blakeley named his 1989 album Harry's Cafe de Wheels with a photo on the cover.
- The cafe was featured in the second season of the reality television show The Amazing Race in 2002. The challenge was for a Fast Forward and the racers who chose to do the Fast Forward had to eat pies. It was also featured in HaMerotz LaMillion, the Israeli version of the show.
- Harry's Cafe de Wheels was often seen in the Australian television series Water Rats.
- The Discworld novel The Last Continent, which parodies various aspects of Australian culture, includes "Dibbler's Cafe de Feet", which is a tray around the proprieter's neck.
- It was featured on the Sydney episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern on the Travel Channel.
- It was featured in an episode (season 2, episode 11) of the Australian edition of the reality TV series The Bachelor.
- Harry's Cafe de Wheels, 1945 Pie Cart - Powerhouse Museum
- Harry's Cafe de Wheels website , Accessed July 2006.
- National Trust Register; Harry's Cafe de Wheels, Register Entry , Accessed July 2006.
- Burke, N; Cafe de Wheels and a danger to walkers; The Daily Telegraph, 27/12/2003.
- Jinman, R; Crash Courses; The Sydney Morning Herald, 25/5/2004.
- Official website
- Powerhouse Museum - Harry's Cafe de Wheels, 1945
- Harry’s Café de Wheels National Trust - article explaining the significance of the structure (includes historic images including one of the late Colonel Sanders partaking of the spécialités d'hote).