A NEW generation is looking to the past as it puts its own stamp on an iconic South Albury eatery.
On Tuesday Johnny El-Achkar and Rachael Eggleston will open Nan Nina's in premises formerly occupied by JT's Takeaway.
Johnny said Nan Nina's paid homage to his late Lebanese grandmother, Nina, who was Jackie's mum.
"Growing up I was always in the kitchen with her," he said.
"She's the reason I became a chef.
"She used to make Lebanese biscuits, sweets and jams; she could make anything and everything without a recipe."
Johnny said Nan Nina's would offer Middle Eastern fusion-inspired dishes for breakfast and brunch five days a week.
He said their menu would be based around local produce and homegrown fare.
"We'll also have our own line of preserves and homemade cakes," Johnny said.
"We grow a lot of our produce out the back like olives, citrus, herbs, cherries and apricots."
Having gone to Victory Lutheran College, Johnny did his apprenticeship at Waddingtons at Kergunyah.
He also worked at Grand Hyatt Melbourne and Provenance (Beechworth) and was head chef at Cafe John in Carlton.
A former Rutherglen High School student, Rachael has worked in the hospitality industry for 15 years.
"We ran our own business in ready-made meals from February to September," she said.
"But we always wanted to do something together like this."
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Johnny said Nan Nina's would offer halal food, which essentially meant no alcohol or pork products.
"We've got a supplier of Wagyu beef bacon, which tastes fantastic," he said.
"We've got a growing Muslim community here on the border and we want to make a comfortable environment everyone can come to."
Johnny said while there would be no more fish and chips - or even JT's renowned potato cakes - there would be a new hero dish on the menu.
"Our signature dish will be Nina's Toast, which is grilled bread with labna, olives, watercress, tomato, mint and cucumber," Johnny said.
"My grandmothe ate that every day for breakfast."
Rachael said there were other tributes to Nina too.
"Parsley was her favourite herb, which is reflected in our logo," Rachael said.
The business will use Platform 9 Coffee Roasters beans and exhibit artwork by local creatives.
Nan Nina's, which is located at 487 Ebden Street, will operate Tuesday to Saturday, 7am to 3pm.
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