Warm up those piggy banks, Perth. Australia's first permanent community-funded restaurant is headed your way.
Daniel Sterpini, Adam Keane, Andrew Bennett and Sasha Verheggen, the directors behind small North Perth bar The Classroom, need your help to open Lucky Chan's Laundry & Noodlebar. They've secured a site on Northbridge's lively William Street and have come up with a theme that pays tribute to the neighbourhood's rich Asian immigrant history. Working towards a January opening, they'll take care of staffing, licensing and all the fiddly stuff. All they need now are some passionate folk not only to invest in their modern Asian restaurant vision, but to help bring it to life. In short, they're after partners who'll make Lucky Chan's their own.
"There's still a whole bunch of people out there who don't think there's a place in Northbridge for them," says Bennett. "We saw a great response from people wanting to be part of the formation and getting up of something, particularly in a hospitality environment."
Although crowd-funding is gaining traction as a business model (see IconPark and its rotating roster of pop-up restaurants), team Lucky Chan's is taking the process a step further by asking the public for both funding and feedback on the sort of venue they'd like to see open. Among the areas for which they'll be seeking counsel: the décor, the contents of the liquor cabinet and the menu. Sure, the guys might have spent time over the past few months sourcing binchotan charcoal and learning the finer points of noodle-making, but that doesn't mean yakitori and tonkotsu ramen will be on the opening-night menu (although we certainly hope so). That decision, like many, will largely be up to pledgers.
"It's an organic and exciting project," says Bennett. "A lot of the time you start your business with your head in the sand. That's how The Classroom and every other bar I've worked in started. You just don't get that tangible and empirical feedback from punters before you open the door, so there's this real kind of trepidation and hit-and-hope on day one. It's a cool story for Perth and it's a cool story for Northbridge."
Pledges start from $5 and are being accepted until 15 November at the Lucky Chan's website.