Loud music and casual Athenian street food is the winning formula behind George Calombaris’ Jimmy Grants.
After finding success in Victoria and Queensland, Calombaris set his sights on Newtown for the brand’s sixth store. The second will be in Central Plaza, opening in October and two more will open in 2018, one in Surry Hills.
“We have a really clear growth [plan] for the next five years. We’re planning to open 20 Jimmy Grants stores in New South Wales, with the flagship store in Surry Hills,” says brand manager Letisha Dall.
The name Jimmy Grants comes from the Australian rhyming slang for immigrants. Driven by his grandmother’s teaching, Calombaris’ souvlaki incorporates the garlic and spice of classic Greek cooking.
It’s the kind of establishment that understands late-night culture. “The music is pumping, our crew are having a great time and the food comes out really quickly,” says Dall. While the food is fast, Calombaris has always been firm that it’s not a quick-service restaurant, and has the same attention to detail as his fine diners.
The Mr Papadopoulos souva (slow-roasted lamb shoulder inside a warm pitta with mustard aioli, onion and parsley) is stuffed with chips. “Just the way it’s made in Greece,” says Dall. The Eat like a Greek plate is also making the trip with chicken from the spit, slow-roasted lamb shoulder, dip, salad and fetta-dusted chips.
The new store will have its own identity. “Each of our stores has a unique design which talks to the history of Greek immigrants starting a new life in Australia. The Surry Hills store will be no different,” says Dall.
Calombaris has recently been in the headlines for underpaying restaurant staff up to a combined $2.6 million, so news of new beginnings couldn’t come at a better time.
Article updated August 7.