Restaurant News

New South Wales coastal restaurant St Isidore is closing

The owners are pulling the plug on their South Coast venue, but they’re turning their focus to a new, casual wine bar.

By Madeleine Bentley
Jo Thomas and Alex Delly of St Isidore.
Much-loved coastal restaurant St Isidore, on the New South Wales South Coast, is closing its doors at the end of August, as the owners refocus their efforts on their new wine bar. The restaurant will hold its final service on 24 August.
Chef Alex Delly and Jo Thomas, the husband-and-wife team behind St Isidore, opened their farmhouse restaurant in Milton in 2011. Since then, they've been pulling in diners with their fresh flavours and hyper-local philosophy – much of the restaurant's produce is harvested from their onsite garden. The restaurant also secured a top 100 ranking in the Gourmet Traveller 2019 Restaurant Guide.
By all accounts, the restaurant is firing on all cylinders but the pressures of maintaining high restaurant standards, while raising a young family, are all too real for Delly and Thomas.
"Restaurants always have a shelf life," says Thomas. "We knew at some point the time would be right for us to leave St Isidore and start something else. When we opened, it was just the two of us – now we've got three little kids."
"It just wasn't working for us as a family, and we thought that's a good enough opportunity to start something new that will work for us."

That something new is something smaller, too. Small Town, a 26-seater wine bar and eatery just 500 metres down the road in central Milton, is set to open in early spring. It will have the same DNA of St Isidore but with a more casual, city-feel format.
"Delicious, simple food and gulp-able wines is what we're going for," says Thomas. "If St Isidore is like having friends at our home and feeding them three courses, Small Town will be like sitting at the kitchen bench, having a laugh. It's louder, with less rules."
There's mixed feelings about the pending closure of St Isidore, and the new chapter at Small Town. Milton may be losing a much-loved restaurant, but it's gaining a vibrant neighbourly venue driven by two rejuvenated operators.
"We're happy, we're sad, and we're proud as punch that we're leaving on our own terms," says Thomas. "It isn't easy running a small business, especially in a country town. To be leaving because we've decided that that's the best thing for us as a family is a pretty special thing."
St Isidore is set to close on 24 August, 89 Croobyar Rd, Milton, NSW, (02) 4455 7261,
Small Town is slated to open in early spring at 4/41 Wason St, Milton, NSW.