George Calombaris is expanding his takeaway souvlaki empire; he’s adding two Sydney outposts of Jimmy Grants – one in Newtown and one in the CBD – to the five already in Melbourne and the one on the Gold Coast. The outlet in Westfield Sydney opened last week. The name Jimmy Grants honours the moniker given to immigrants like Calombaris’s dad, who arrived in Australia in the 1950s.
“I’m really proud of my heritage and culture, but beyond anything, I’m proud to be Australian,” he says. The new menu features collaborations with Sydney food royalty: Matt Moran, Colin Fassnidge, Manu Feildel and Miguel Maestre. “I didn’t want it to be about a Melbourne boy coming to Sydney,” says Calombaris.
Starting November 20, each chef’s souvlaki will be featured for a week at Jimmy Grants, and profits from their sale will go to a charity of that chef’s choice. Expect chorizo, paella and jamón chips from Maestre; duck confit souvlaki from Feildel; pulled pork from Moran; and lamb with salsa verde from Fassnidge.
Lamb is pasture-raised in Gippsland and Jimmy Grants’ pita bread is made by a local family in the northern suburbs of Melbourne.
Even the organic soft drinks are Calombaris’s own. “The baklava creamy soda is my favourite,” he says. “There’s also ginger beer made with real ginger.”
The Newtown shop is small – the only seating is four tables on the footpath outside. The walls are papered with a montage of black and white photos of life in 1950s Greece and Australia, and menus on corrugated tin hang above the brick-fronted service counter. There’s a mural on the white walls outside, done in shades of blue, featuring the faces of Newtown locals. It’s by Melbourne street artist Danny Awes.