Little Miss Mexico, Little Miss Miami, Little Miss Dive Shop and Crab Shack, and Superfish: the site at 188 Grenfell Street has had many lives. But its next incarnation will eschew themed pop-ups in favour of something a little more permanent. Comparatively, anyway.
“We’ve got [another] four-year run,” says Jordan Jeavons. He’s steering the revival with The Social Creative’s Stuart Duckworth and Tom Skipper before the site is (eventually) replaced with a 13-storey apartment building. “Four years is relatively permanent in the hospitality world at the moment.”
In two weeks the outdoor space will become Roxie’s – a “down to earth” and laid-back bar and restaurant. It’s a “sort of completion of the project” that comprises neighbouring Midnight Spaghetti, multi-purpose event space Chateau Apollo and the Crown and Anchor.
The brief? “A Mexican pizza bar,” says Jeavons, tongue firmly in cheek. “No … we’re opening an Italian taco shop.” He’s still joking. Jeavons is all too aware of the popularisation of gimmicky hybrids and flash-in-a pan trends. For him, Roxie’s is an opportunity to flip the venue on its head. He’s shooting for simplicity and timelessness.
The newly installed kitchen will serve modern-Australian cuisine. That one’s true. Think slow-cooked meats and house-baked flat breads from the wood oven, which Jeavons and the team built themselves. There will also be “a whole lot” of vegetables. “We want to do more wholesome and rustic food … things that I cook at home,” says Jeavons. He’ll front the kitchen with next-door’s John Stamatakis. A rooftop veggie garden and a resident beehive will supply the three venues.
A concise wine list will feature “local stuff with a natural slant”. There’s also a house wine bottled under the name Chateau Apollo. But the key point of difference? Jeavons promises you won’t pay more than $11 by the glass.
Far from the two-week turnaround of Superfish, Jeavons and the team have been slowly and quietly working on the Roxie’s digs for the past six months. “We’ve been removing all the clutter and we’re stripping it back to a real raw aesthetic,” he says. “Lots of brick, lots of wood and old stone walls exposed.” There will also be “lots of plants … like a lot of plants”, says Jeavons. They’re courtesy of Ollie Graham, who looked after the greenery at Superfish. Peculiar Familia designer Carlo Jensen is also on board again, working on a new mural for the venue.
Roxie’s officially opens on November 16 with a party spanning the four venues. There’ll be specials at Midnight Spaghetti and the Crown and Anchor, plus live music inside Chateau Apollo. “We now have this amazing capacity for cross-venue events,” says Jeavons. “We’ve had a lot of public events happening at Chateau, whether exhibitions or gigs or whatever, and I like the idea that when they finish up you can roll out into the garden for a drink or go in there before for dinner, or go up and get a late-night feed [at Midnight Spaghetti].”
It seems there’ll soon be little reason to leave the block between Frome and Union streets.