Two years ago, Dexter opened on a quiet stretch of High Street in Preston near car dealerships and tyre shops. It quickly attracted a loyal local following with its barbeque offering, which includes meat doughnuts, bone-marrow mash and an ever-changing specials board of meats, broken down on-site.
Soon its reputation spread throughout Melbourne; regulars started traveling from suburbs such as Elwood and Box Hill for a feed. Soon, those customers will have another Dexter option – this time in the city.
“From day one, we’ve been honing our skills and working towards opening another establishment with an, ‘X’ out the front,” says Sam Peasnell, co-owner of Dexter (the Preston shop has a sign marked with an X, hanging above the front door). “We’ve always wanted to put our food up against everyone else’s and the city is the ultimate challenge”.
Dexter’s new three-storey CBD venue will have a restaurant at ground level, a cocktail and snack bar on level two, and a rooftop with a view on level three.
“The space we’ve secured is already quite beautiful, with high ceilings and hidden qualities we’d really like to bring out,” says Peasnell. He won’t divulge the exact location yet.
The interior of Dexter Preston was designed by the owners, with help from friends and family. The same approach has been taken for the fit-out for the city venue. Although it will look and feel a little different.
“Later nights around the bar is conducive to partying and drinking, so we’ll go for darker, moodier lighting and warmer furnishings,” says Peasnell. And the menu will expand; more meat, steaks and cooking techniques.
“Our food is awesome to enjoy with a few drinks, so people can expect to see an increased focus on wine, beer and cocktails, too,” says Peasnell.
Dexter will carry over a selection of its local suppliers to the city venue, including Hawkers Beer on tap.
The new location will certainly open Dexter to a whole new audience, but the owners never want to forget its origins.
“We’ve received such great support from the local Preston community and we’re really thankful for that,” says Peasnell. “We want our locals to know they’ll always be a part of our journey.”
In fact, a loyalty rewards program will be set up for those with Preston’s 3072 postcode on their ID.
Dexter Meat, Liquor & Roof is due to open at the beginning of summer.
This article was updated on July 7, 2017.