Book that Tassie trip soon: the restaurant that changed the face of Apple Isle dining is set to pull up stumps.
The owners of Garagistes will put the Hobart restaurant on the market next year. Chef and co-owner Luke Burgess says that it's unlikely the business will stay open under the current management past July 2014, when the site's lease ends. "Kat [co-owner and sommelier Katrina Birchmeier], Kirk [Richardson, co-owner and manager] and I have so much more we want to do, Kat with her interest in wine, Kirk with his design work, that we feel like we've done as much as we can with it."
Garagistes, which specialises in natural wines and produce sourced solely from Tasmania, found fame fast when it opened in 2011, scoring two stars in the GT restaurant guide straight off the bat, and earning Burgess a gong for Best New Talent. It rated number one in the state in the last GT restaurant awards, and placed at 22 in the national top 100. In 2012 it spawned a bar, Sidecar, which Burgess says may or may not be part of the sale.
"We want to go out on a high," says the chef, adding that the restaurant has never been busier. "We're doing 80 or 100 most nights, and we're really proud of what we've achieved together but we want to see if someone else can take it to the next level."
Burgess denies that he or his staff are contemplating a move to the Royal Mail kitchens in country Victoria following Dan Hunter's departure, and won't comment on whether his next restaurant job will be in Tasmania, on the mainland or further afield. "All I can commit to saying for myself right now is that I intend to be in Rio for the World Cup in 2014," he laughs.