MY WYNDHAM: Mario Muraca

Mario Muraca, a long-time Werribee South resident and owner of Bruno's Deli and Cafe in Werribee. Photo by Damjan Janevski.

By Alesha Capone

My Wyndham: Mario Muraca is the owner of Bruno’s Deli and Café in Werribee. He chats with Alesha Capone.

How long have you owned Bruno’s?

I’ve been here for 10 and a half years. Prior to that I spent 35 years growing vegetables in Werribee South.

What has changed across the past decade?

Nowadays I notice some people get impatient and want to be served straight away. We always have two to three to staff on, but if we’re busy serving others, a customer might have to wait two or three minutes. Parking is hard to find; we do lose business because of this. It affects not only me, but lots of businesses here.

Mr Muraca inside Bruno’s Deli and Cafe. Photo by Damjan Janevski.

Do you make friends with some of your customers?

You see kids of customers who grew up. Customers become your friends. If they pass away, it’s sad. I go to their funerals. One lady, who passed away about eight weeks ago, lived in a local retirement home. She was half Italian and half Serbian. Her daughters and grandkids would come here for a coffee with her on Saturdays. I keep a stash of Sambuca below the counter for special customers, I’ll give them a little bit at Christmas or Easter. I always gave this lady a Sambuca. I went to her funeral and the person doing the eulogy said the lady used to love to come down the main street of Werribee and go to Bruno’s, where she would have a Sambuca. I was in tears – I didn’t expect her to say that. I have a rare disease, retinitis pigmentosa, and I’m legally blind. Slowly, my vision is getting foggier and foggier. Now I tell customers, if I don’t say, “Hello”, I’m not being rude – I just can’t see you.

Do you still live in Wyndham?

I still live in Werribee South. I bought an apartment at the marina, Wyndham Harbour. Both of my kids are married now, so for my wife and I, it’s relaxing to wake up and see the water boats, and leave the window open and get a sea breeze. I have been happily married to my wife, Antoinette, for 35 years. She’s still stuck with me for some reason. She’s my rock.

What does the future hold for you?

With my problem with my eyes, sometimes I would get depressed. But my first grandchild was born seven months ago. I held her and I was so happy, I’m alive. Sometimes I catch the bus here to Bruno’s, or my wife will drive me. I’m sad that in the future we will have to sell.