When Chris Starke, former pastry chef at Marque opened Darlinghurst’s Youeni Provides in 2010, he was down to the wire. “The day I opened the doors to the public I literally had $50 in my bank account. That was it.”
A little over two years later and not only is the original store a fixture on South Dowling Street – providing rustic fare and a carefully selected produce for locals – but regulars are exited to hear that Youeni mark two is opening a stones throw away on Hill Street, Surry Hills.
Neatly ensconced in the back corner of a courtyard that is edged by Whitehouse school of design and just metres from The Beresford, Starke and Ky Haus have been putting the finishing touches on a blue-tiled, wooden-decked space that’s set to “grow organically” into a courtyard paradise, licensed for long evenings with a glass of wine. For now it’s breakfast and lunch until the official launch (in the first days of June).
Proud of their providore/foodstore roots, the new store is set to turn out house-made treats and their own blend of coffee. “Everything will be made in-house,” says Starke. “The butter, the bread, pastries, everything. Once we get a churner we’ll start making ice cream too.”
They’ll even eventually be curing their own meats. “The other store will remain the providore. We’ll utilise the produce and if people want to buy it we can direct them over there,” says Starke. “But over here, we’ll be a lot more food focused.”
It’s still all about local produce, healthy living and great base ingredients, not to mention a passion for sharing these things. “Part of the requirements for working here are that you have to be a nutter and genuinely love the good produce,” laughs Starke.