Jo loved Mario’s. And she loved art. It filled her life, and her flat. You couldn’t move for art on the walls, on the floor, it was everywhere. She bought whatever art she could, whenever she could, mostly from the charity shops of North London. Here’s a small glimpse of her collection - beautiful, eccentric, intriguing, like the woman herself.
Jo was always in the charity shops of Kentish Town and Highgate. Hope what you see inspires you to visit a charity shop and buy some art or make a donation – sales will definitely be down since they lost one of their best customers.
Jo Ann Hodges. June 5 1959 – July 25 2017.
Artists who have previously exhibited at Marios Cafe....
The year was 1958 when my grandfather Mario opened up ‘Tony’s Restaurant’ at 6 Kelly Street. He hailed from the Puglia region of Italy and had decided to name the place after his son and my dad, Tony.
Things bobbed along nicely for several years, attracting lots of students from the local Polytechnic just around the corner. Polytechnic’s gone now, its luxury flats, as you’d expect.
Then in true Italian fashion, Tony had a bust up with Mario and walked out, leaving Mario to run the place alone. He struggled to continue without him and eventually leased the place to a Chinese family. So in 1974 ‘Tony’s Restaurant’ became ‘The Golden Sun’.
10 years passed before the lease was up for renewal and for reasons best known to him, my grandfather refused to lease it to the Chinese family. So it sat empty for 4 years during which time he passed away. It was then, Tony (my dad) found himself redundant from the Greek restaurant he’d been working at. He was aged 55. So striking a deal with his siblings, the place opened up as a cafe again.
So much to our disapproval ‘Mario’s Cafe’ was born on 6th June 1989 and this time they named it after me! At the time I was an uneducated unemployed pot smoking wannabe rock star, so I was roped in to help out. I was only supposed to be there for a year until I realised how much music was associated with the area. The Falcon Pub quickly becoming my favourite music venue.
After a year, my dad had a heart attack, had to go off to have triple bypass surgery and left me holding the baby so to speak. I’m still here and the rest is history....
A small selection of photos of the cafe as it is today.