Swan Street is where it’s at. So says Adam Del Mastro, who in former roles at Auction Rooms, Seven Seeds and St ALi North, helped set – and raise – Melbourne’s food offerings bar. “Swan Street is the hot spot in Richmond at the moment,” he says. ““I think Bridge Road is quite a troubled space because it's suffering from a large amount of vacancies, and Church Street has its great things, with Kong and Top Paddock really driving it. But as far as hospitality goes, Swan Street’s the home for most of that, it’s the real community centre.”
He’s hoping to amplify that buzz with a new project from Pop Union and The Publican Group, converting a former bank building into an, “experimental food, retail and cultural precinct” before it permanently becomes a pub. Translation: Del Mastro’s collecting Melbourne’s favourite things – coffee, tea, chocolate, ice cream, juice, movies and, naturally, crab burgers – for a 12-month Festival of Good Stuff.
Named The Swan Street Chamber of Commerce (in honour of its previous use), its first tenants will include tea specialists Storm in a Teacup; up-and-coming Sydney coffee roasters Will & Co which is launching its brand in Melbourne; Fitzroy bakers Rustica Sourdough; local handmade cupware at Cup Shop; My Two Mums with nostalgic hits such as ice-cream sandwiches and floats, plus tried-and-tested favourites such as Monsieur Truffe, Pressed Juices, Thrive Flowers and the Hammer & Tong Food Truck. Valhalla Social Cinema is also on board, screening classic flicks four nights a week, starting with The Blues Brothers. Finally, Living Frames will add a bit of greenery with a vertical garden.
With vendors bumping in now, Del Mastro expects the Chamber of Commerce to quietly open within the next few weeks. We’ll be on hand to let you know exactly it does.
The Swan Street Chamber of Commerce
214 Swan Street, Richmond