It’s going to be a big year for Dexter. The Preston barbeque joint’s three-storey city venue, Dexter Meat, Liquor & Roof opens this summer, and before that, the team is opening a new place in Preston.
But it’s not barbeque. Takeaway Pizza, due to open at the end of winter, is really two venues in one: a local pizza spot, and a bar for late-night drinks and dancing on the weekends.
The bar will open opposite Dexter on High Street and serve American-style pizza, as well as entrees and snacks from the cocktail bar.
It will be licensed until 1am on weekends, something that’s lacking in the area.
“We often get asked, ‘where do we go now?’” says Adam Goldblatt, chef and part-owner. “So soon we’ll be able to say, ‘across the road’.”
The old embroidery warehouse will seat up to 50 people, with outdoor seating on a front deck. Inside, an old narrow showroom with a low-trussed roof will be home to a long bar serving wine, beer and cocktails – classics and more wacky options such as a Popcorn Coco Libre with buttered rum, salted popcorn and candied lime, served in a movie cup.
“There’ll be fun wallpaper prints to add a party theme and match the loud music,” says Goldblatt. “But it’ll be intimate and cosy too for those late-night drinks.”
Out the back is a large factory space, “which will be perfect for us to turn into an industrial kitchen to service all three venues,” says Goldblatt, referring to Takeaway Pizza, the new city spot and the original in Preston.
Before opening Dexter, the three owners had been torn about whether to go with a smokehouse barbeque or pizza concept. Owners Goldblatt and brothers Sam and Tom Peasnell all have experience making pizza. In London, Goldblatt worked for Homeslice, and in Melbourne all three boys worked for Pizza Relgion in Hawthorn East.
“As fun as pizza is, we needed to refresh and broaden our horizons for a bit,” says Goldblatt. “But we’re super keen to get back into pizza now.”
The shopfront window will serve 22-inch Coney Island, New York-style pizza by the slice. There’ll be up to four flavours at a time, with a full menu of 15 whole 12-inch pizzas too.
The pizzas will showcase Dexter’s meat expertise, as well as its flair for invention and breaking tradition.
“They’re not wood-fired, but we’ve been creative with how we want to deliver that smoky flavour and get the fire back in the pizza,” says Goldblatt. The team has been experimenting with hot-smoking and cold-smoking flour, tomatoes and other veggies.
Classic toppings will still be on offer, but with a slight twist.
“We like to take meals that exist and turn them into a pizza,” says Goldblatt. He uses the example of breaking down the components of a Sunday roast as a concept for a topping. “Maybe the roasted potato flavours will turn into the pizza base sauce, and we’ll build the pizza up from there”.
While starters, bar snacks (think a playful take on an American corn dog in the vein of Dexter’s signature meat doughnut) and house-made charcuterie will be available alongside pizza, Goldblatt makes clear the venue is a bar first, with bar-style service and walk-ins only.
“We won’t have knives and forks set on the table either,” he says.
535 High Street, Preston
Tue to Thu 5pm–11pm
Fri & Sat 5pm–1am