BEAUFORT STREET is back on the up, with chef Maurício Ferrari Paroni opening up a steakhouse in the old Pony Club tapas bar.
The building has lain empty since 2011, and over the years it has become emblematic of declining consumer confidence in Mt Lawley.
But the property recently changed hands and a new real estate agent Burgess Rawson was brought in.
Mr Ferrarri Paroni’s restaurant, “Gado Brazil Steakhouse,” opened up in late August after internal refits (his parents even travelled over from Brazil to help give it an authentic homestyle feel).
A chef from Brazil, he’s also run the well-loved Mamma Mia Pizzeria in Clarkson. But he’s dreamed of opening this kind of steakhouse since he arrived in Australia from São Paulo 14 years ago.
“I saw the gap in the market and I said ‘that’s what I’m going to do,’ and I worked towards that goal.”
His pizza business helped him build up the capital, and he says at last he found “the perfect spot” on Beaufort Street.
“It’s actually the best location we found, that we’ve been dreaming about for seven or eight years.”
In contrast to the previous tenant’s tiny tapas nibbles, he’s doing an all-you-can-eat, wood-fired BBQ set up (Gado means “livestock” in Portuguese) and so far punters are loving it, flooding his Facebook page with reviews averaging 4.8/5 stars. Already some people “have come three or four times already”.
He says he doesn’t just want it to be a meatfest so they have a lot of vegetarian dishes that’ll be appreciated by the inner-city type diners.
“We’ve had a lot of vegetarians come in! When I designed the menu that was the idea…to cater to anybody. It has been working very well.
“When I go to a barbecue place I don’t want to just eat meat, I want to get a bit of everything and get a proper meal.”
Burgess Rawson’s sales and leasing consultant Luke Randazzo says the new tenancy is “a positive result given the property’s size, history and prominent Beaufort Street location”.
He says it’s “hopefully an indicator for more positive activity on Beaufort Street”.
Beaufort Street Network’s new chair Joshua O’Keefe says “it’s an encouraging sign that an exciting new restaurant has moved into a prime location on Beaufort Street that has been vacant for several years.
“As an organisation that is working to enhance Beaufort Street and support local business, the BSN is optimistic that this is a sign of growing confidence in our Highgate/Mount Lawley precinct.”
The network’s recently gone through a reboot with a new executive committee, and Mr O’Keefe says BSN 2.0 is “focussed on striving for success for the iconic strip and advocating for the businesses that have weathered the highs and lows of the retail and hospitality industries over recent years”.
by DAVID BELL