In July 2015, the team behind Hanoi Hannah, Saigon Sally and Tokyo Tina announced it was moving outside of Windsor for the first time. The plan was to open a restaurant in Elwood. Hanoi Hannah was chosen by public vote as the restaurant that would be given a suburban twin.
It was due to open early this year but was delayed by the team’s decision to relocate from the original Ormond Road site to one in Elsternwick.
“The original Elwood site just didn’t fit in the end,” says group director Simon Blacher. “The take-away market is so big now, with delivery services … and we realised, after a couple of months, that the size of the site was going to be totally inadequate for what we wanted to do.
“My friend had a cafe here in Elsternwick, the Artful Dodger, and he was looking to move on so he offered us his site about two months ago. We flipped it pretty quickly, and opened last week.”
Hanoi Hannah Elsternwick is very similar to the Windsor original. The fit-out is a little cleaner and slightly larger, with 55 seats spaciously spread, as opposed to Windsor’s 45 tightly packed. The food and drink list of Vietnamese street food is identical for now. Blacher hopes to eventually put some site-specific specials on, but says it was easier to open with what they knew.
Although the decision to open another Hanoi Hannah was made by public vote, Blacher says it worked out for the best. “Of all our restaurants, Hanoi Hannah is the easiest to replicate,” he says. “I want to open more of them – perhaps one in Richmond or the city.”