O'Hea's Bakery-Delicatessen-Café on O'Hea Street, Coburg is a northern suburbs institution, well known by countless locals and provincial Italian food aficionados.
O'Hea's is a panificio (bakery), pasticerria (cake-store), formaggeria (cheese store) and salumeria (cold meat deli). With their coffee machine whirring away all day and busy sandwich bar, they're a popular café and lunch stop as well.
The customers who already know about the place, return time and time again. Their loyalty has a lot to do with the friendliness of the Italian bakers who own the store. The Arena brothers greet everyone with special attention and entertain as they make fun of one another and joke around with their staff.
Their breads, that are preservative free and baked daily on-site include ciabatta, vienna, stone scone, and a delicious loaf filled with fruit. They also supply a large range of fillings like, buffalo mozzella, jarlsberg, ricotta, havati, mortadella, proscuitto and salami, which you can take home and put in your own panini (sandwich rolls).
Formaggio (cheese) at O'Hea's.
In fact, you could purchase the makings for an entire Italian meal from their shelves, with ingredients for zuppa (soup), antipasti (appetisers), pasta with sugo (sauce) and even vino (wine) stocked on their shelves.
The perfect finish of course are the dolce (sweets). There's croissants, danishes, muffins, tarts, biscotti and sicilian-style cannoli made with with ricotta and chocolate pieces. If not for after dinner, you can pick up a tray of them and impress by serving at your next staff meeting.
O'Hea's coffees are the best around for miles. The wait on having them made varies depending on how busy they are and sometimes parking in the area can be difficult. Still, these things would never stop you from dropping by because it's a lovely place to be. Especially if you're charmed by watching the old signore order their lunch meats slice by slice, the men bantering about their calcio (football) and the cast of many other characters who visit O'Hea's, not so much because they need to but because it's become part of the routine of their daily lives.
The store is authentic. It does not have any of the upmarket décor you get at many other places but that's not the point. It's been there supplying European migrants and their families with essential produce, like aqua minerale (mineral water), biscotti, (biscuits) camomile (herbal tea) and pane (bread) for years. It's a tradition.