Shannon Martinez’s vegan diner Smith & Daughters has always been good at changing up its formula.
The Fitzroy restaurant ditched its original menu in 2018 to introduce an ambitious new all-Italian one instead. Like many Melbourne food operators, it’s also been quick to pivot to takeaway and delivery during the coronavirus outbreak.
Now, during the day from Tuesday to Saturday, the space is operating as Smith & Stuff – a local grocer of sorts, selling restaurant-quality fruit and vegetables, and pantry staples such as bread, non-dairy milk, pasta, flour, yeast, spices, and tinned lentils and beans. There are also household essentials, including hand sanitiser made by Melbourne Moonshine distillery, cleaning products, toilet paper and toothbrushes.
“I think we need to reverse our ways to go back to shopping local, and by doing that it’s also keeping people in jobs,” says Martinez. “When we all support local and small shops, that’s also for small producers and farms.”
She adds that by shopping locally, customers have the opportunity to meet more of the people and producers behind the products they’re buying. If you catch her in-store, she’ll happily talk you through what’s on the shelves and make a meal plan for your week, free of charge.
Martinez’s nearby deli, Smith & Deli, is also open for takeaway. It’s stocked with sandwiches, sweets and staples, plus ready-made meals and desserts (including frozen lasagnes, burritos, cookie dough and slabs of brownie) that can be ordered over the phone. Minimum-contact pick-up is available.
“I’d love for people to pay attention to the areas they live in and watch out for the shops that are trying to adjust to this and support them. Even just doing a $30 shop makes such a difference,” she says.
“There’s no shortage of food … there’s no reason why people should be going without or just buying shit they don’t really want. If there’s a time to be eating healthy, it’s right now.”
Smith & Stuff is open from 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Saturday. Smith & Daughters opens from 5pm for takeaway and delivery.