The Johnston Street Foodstore, which opened last Wednesday, has been a long time coming for couple Michael and Mary Conrad. The hospitality professionals (Michael is a chef and Mary front-of-house) kept an eye on a space on Johnston, between Smith and Brunswick for a couple of years and it’s taken just as long again to get it to where they want it to be.
“We want to create a hub of good food and good wine with great coffee,” says Michael who, with Mary, owned Toofeys in Carlton for four years between 2003 to 2007. The space has been designed by Michael with pared-back brick walls dressed with vintage signs that he has found. “I’m a collector,” he explains, as he points out the industrial light fittings and the retro pieces that sit on high shelves towards the back of the room next to olive oils and other provisions that are for sale; there is an on-premises licence with plans for a takeaway licence in the pipeline. The kitchen has been designed as a production kitchen so, in development is a selection of dishes created by Michael and packaged so that people can pick up dinner to take home. At the moment you can find sandwiches and cakes in the cabinets as well as quality cheeses, preserved meats and fresh fruit. The Conrads are big supporters of local seasonal produce, and are sourcing a lot of their ingredients from local farmers markets.
It’s going to be interesting to watch this place evolve.
Johnston St Foodstore
256 Johnston Street, Fitzroy
(03) 9416 1118