Anthony Princi has been here before.
In 2011, he and his business partners opened Bivouac, a homely sort-of restaurant, sort-of bar, sort-of cafe at the bottom of William Street. Considering Northbridge – at the time – was still predominantly nonnas and nightclubs, and all the action was taking place on the other side of the railway lines, the decision could be described as somewhat plucky.
Fast forward to 2018 and Bivouac, and equally proactive neighbours such as The Bird, Ezra Pound and The Standard, are key players in the vibrant new Northbridge. For his next trick, Princi and Bivouac co-owner Jeremy Diaz (he joined the business in 2014) are going west and looking to reboot a Subiaco favourite.
Subiaco locals will likely be familiar with Juanita’s on Rokeby Road and its pot luck of mismatched chairs and furnishings. Till late last year, the bar was run by an eccentric artist that, at best, could be described as “divisive” (stories of guests being banned for misdemeanours aren’t uncommon). After spending the last three months getting their heads around the space, Princi and Diaz are looking forward to welcoming guests to Juanita’s 2.0 and making themselves a part of the Subi community.
“Subiaco is beautiful, has a history as long as anywhere in WA: why shouldn’t it be flourishing?” says Princi. “It feels a bit like the beginning of Bivouac where it felt like you were reprogramming people’s brains and letting them know it was okay to head out, but it doesn’t take long.”
In a stroke of geographical serendipity, Princi and Diaz are being joined by new business partner Luke Foyle, late of Subiaco pasta bar – and Marco Pierre White’s new favourite restaurant in Australia – Lulu La Delizia. As was the case at his former workplace, Foyle – and his partners – aren’t worried about post-AFL life in Subi.
“Locals told us that there would never be a big footy crowd coming through,” says Foyle, whose CV includes time at Cantina 663, Mrs S and legendary Montreal diner Joe Beef. “Our intention with buying this was to be a really good neighbourhood watering hole.”
Despite the casual setting, Foyle is aiming high with Juanita’s food and serving guests house-made terrines, corned-beef toasties, duck-liver parfait and salumi. House-made salumi (Princi’s family are the Princis of local meat fame) is on the cards, as are nightly specials sporting a similar focus on deliciousness as the main carte: think smoked chicken wings and porchetta.
“It’s the type of food you want to eat while you’re drinking, not the kind of food you eat when you’re drunk,” says Foyle. “The plan is for everything we serve here to be made in-house or at least made by us.”
Small-scale wines and winemakers dominate the drinks list with Diaz including a handful of broadly naturally made cuvees. A small selection of tap beers are available by the middy, schooner and pint.
Tue &Wed 2pm–10pm
Thu & Sat 2pm–11pm