Good Times co-owner Bryce Ritchie says the idea for his late-night pasta spot came together in just 72 hours. He sat down with co-owners Sean McMeekin, Jeremy Hines and Colin Mala and a pencil and paper. "We wrote down what we didn’t like about hospitality and the restaurant industry,” Ritchie says. “And we made notes of what we did like.” Good Times is the product of those lists.

The restaurant is open just three days a week, and it doesn’t have much of an online presence. You won’t find an Instagram or Facebook page, or a website. The team likes the idea of their eatery being shared (so far) mostly by word-of-mouth.

“We're part of the ethos of small, family-run businesses [serving] good food, priced well, [with] informal, honest service,” Ritchie says. “[You don’t] need an iPhone to know of us.”

Every weekend a new menu of seven dishes is revealed, scrawled on a page tacked to the wall. By Sunday, “it’s an empty cool room,” says Ritchie. The following week they start fresh. Dishes cost up to $14, but there’ll always be a $9 pasta.

A classic puttanesca is rich with tomato, chilli, garlic, capers and (optional) anchovies; three-cheese ravioli is pan-fried with sage and butter; amatriciana is heavy with smoky bacon; and fresh South Australian pipis come with mussels and a white wine and garlic sauce.

There’s prosciutto and homemade grissini for snacking, perfect with a rotating $9 specials like a Negroni or carafe of wine. For dessert, there’s tartufo (Italian ice-cream from Calabria) with Kahlua and fresh strawberries, and out the back there’s a courtyard vegetable garden where you can roast marshmallows over an open fire.

Inside, mismatched wooden tables are covered in large sheets of butcher’s paper. On each there is a candle in an old bottle, wax dripping down the sides, and a latte glass full of pencils. As the night goes on and the 75-capacity space fills up, each table becomes covered in drawings. They range from amateurish and vulgar to genuinely impressive, from portraits to poems and comics. On the stereo you’ll hear a mix that might include 1930s Indonesian pop, or old-school American blues.

Good Times
214 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North

Fri to Sun 3pm–late

This article first appeared on Broadsheet on January 7, 2019. Menu items may have changed since publication.