This unremarkable building, on the corner of Whitehall and Hopkins streets, is in the process of becoming something exciting for Footscray and the western suburbs.
Under the auspices of the same crew that brought us 8bit, it is being transformed into an establishment named Up In Smoke 3011.
Honestly, when I was thinking about writing this story, I blithely assumed I’d be going with something along the lines of “Footscray to get barbecue joint”.
But since then, I’ve had a talk with one of the partners, Shayne, so now know that would not be accurate.
Yes, there will be smoking and barbecue techniques … but what’ll be happening here is something different, innovative and sexy.
“We didn’t want to do traditional American barbecue, as we are in Footscray, Melbourne!,” Shayne says. “And we didn’t want to conform to certain ‘rules’.”
More details – and updates – as they come to hand.
But I can tell you that as well as eat-in there will also be some retail and classy booze going on.
Opening some time in November.
Up in Avondale Heights, Impasto Forno Antico is expanding to take over the old takeaway premises next door.
This is great news, as while the products of this Italian bakery are pure class there hasn’t been much room for customers, including those who want to linger over a coffee.
As co-proprietor Alessio tells me: “On Saturdays, we have queues going out on to the street!”
It’s quite a big space they’re moving into and the wall will be coming down.
They’ll be serving panini, soups and salads.
But the main use for the new and expanded space will be for a gelateria!
When I ask Alessio how much the gelati machinery is costing, he answers: “I’d tell you but you’d want to be sitting down …”
Opening in mid to late November.
Sunshine has a Japanese place.
I hesitate to use the word restaurant or even the word eatery, as Soko is a tiny business in what was the equally tiny Dial A Mr Wong on Hampshire Road.
There is no seating and no eating in unless you want to stand at the window bench.
In the meantime at least, there are some rudimentary tables and chairs outside on artificial grass that I suspect are in place as a temporary measure to compensate for the heavy duty road works going.
So Soko’s main game is undoubtedly takeaway or home deliveries.
I have read some good online reviews.
And, intriguingly, friends speak highly of the lobster sliders they had.
But my $15 tonkotsu ramen (which I confuse with the crumbed tonkatsu – see Art’s comment below) was a bit of a dud – because ramen and takeaway containers don’t really work together and because the noodles and broth were dull.
Could be a hot spot for Sunshine and Albion and locals but I’d advise care.