Like Leonardo’s Pizza Palace, its sibling across town, South Yarra’s ’70s-style burger bar Leonard’s House of Love recently spent a few weeks in hibernation.

Both venues are now open again, newly focused on old-school takeaway and delivery.

“We opened two venues in one week – that was a bit silly. [It] was intense,” says Nick Stanton, who owns Leonard's and Leonardo's along with Guy Bentley, Mark Catsburg and John Harper.

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“The response from all our regulars has been huge. It just shows that this place is so based around community. Hopefully we can … keep the place alive.”

Leonard’s is offering an abridged version of its standard menu, with a couple of new additions. Burgers are back – including classic cheeseburgers made with beef brisket and short rib patties; a Habanero chilli and duck fat glazed chicken burger; a smoked portobello mushroom burger; and a vegan take. Each comes stacked with cheese (vegan is available), pickles, lettuce and sauce. There’s also fried chicken in a hot’n’spicy glaze with pickles and chipotle mayo.

Sides are limited to fries and potato gems for now, but Stanton expects to grow the menu once his team gets a handle on what does and doesn’t work for delivery. You can also buy spicy glazes and sauces by the jar.

“At Leonardo’s, I’ve actually rejigged the way we cook pizza so it’ll travel well,” says Stanton. “Nothing’s different with Leonard’s – we just have to keep it short and sharp … Some food just shouldn’t travel too far.”

Leonard’s has also set up an ad-hoc bottle-o, selling a selection of craft tinnies, house wines, natural wines from local producers such as Das Juice, and Puncheon Darts King Valley prosecco.

The team is also spruiking DIY spritz packs (prosecco, mandarin-infused bitters and soda) that serve six, and vacuum-sealed pickleback shots with a dive-bar-appropriate combo of pickle brine and cheap whiskey (in this case, Jameson).

Stanton isn’t touching third-party delivery apps at any of his venues, preferring to do everything in house and keep his staff employed.

“I think that’s how it should be. It would be nice to see people bringing back the old-school way – ringing up or ordering online, but doing it within the community of the business. Venues are based around community,” he says.

Delivery is currently available for Prahran, South Yarra and Windsor, but there’s a pick-up option for those further afield.

Leonard’s House of Love
3 Wilson Street, South Yarra
0428 066 778

Wed to Thu 5pm–9pm
Fri to Sun 12pm–9pm

This article was first published on 6 May, 2020. Some details may have changed.