Two big names on Melbourne’s dining scene have announced they will be no more, with the news coming on the same day.
Five years after opening on Smith Street, Huxtable owners Daniel Wilson, Dante Ruaine and Jeff Wong have announced they’re calling time on the restaurant, while in the CBD, Frank van Haandel has made a similar announcement about Stokehouse City.
The Huxtable crew will focus on their still-expanding Huxtaburger chain, while the Van Haandel Group is selling the Alfred Place home of Stokehouse City after two years Frank van Haandel describes as “the hardest of my working life.”
“Since the devastating loss of Stokehouse St Kilda to fire … we could never have imagined the time, stress or resources that would be required to get our flagship on St Kilda Beach reopened,” van Haandel says. “We must now ensure that the Van Haandel Group is able to devote its attention to delivering on our very ambitious plans and the three businesses which will operate out of the new building [in St Kilda] come the reopening.”
The Van Haandel Group has sold the CBD site to the Urban Purveyor Group, which will open new steakhouse Cut Bar & Grill across from existing steakhouse, Entrecôte City.
The new Stokehouse St Kilda is due to open in October 2016, with the three businesses van Haandel refers to being the much-loved Stokehouse Restaurant on the first floor, and two new ground floor operations – a more casual restaurant and a beachside kiosk. The building, designed by architect Robert Simeoni, will have a strong environmental focus, aiming to be the first Design and Built 5 Green Star building of its type.
Meanwhile in Fitzroy, the Huxtable team are working towards a final service just weeks away, on Sunday 28 February.
“We had a five year plan and we’re really proud of what we’ve set out to achieve," says chef and owner Daniel Wilson.
“We want to go out with a bang, so we’ll be hosting special nights bringing some of the ‘Huxtable-Masters’ (ex-staff) back for some nostalgic good times.”
Stokehouse City will close for a la carte service on March 4, whilst facilitating confirmed exclusive bookings up until the handover date of 21st March 2016.