Alimentari is an institution in Melbourne. In Italian it means ‘good food and camaraderie’. The first foodstore was established 15 years ago at the original Brunswick Street site, where it still remains to this day. About four years ago, owners Paul and Linda Jones, established their second Alimentari site, commonly referred to now as Smith Street Alimentari, in Collingwood.
The original Brunswick site was developed as a delicatessen and eatery, but Paul and Linda had different plans for the Smith Street site. They established Smith Street as an Eatery and Foodstore, selling ready to go, take home meals including paninis, salads and hot meals. Their signature take home meal is the meatball wrap. It’s absolutely mouthwatering! In addition, they offer a French rotisserie, a huge larder section, fresh pasta bar and a deli with quality meats and produce.
For those with a little more time on their hands, the eatery is open from 8am – 6pm serving specialty coffee from Veneziano Coffee Roasters, and a beautifully crafted seasonal menu created by head chef, Paul himself. Their most popular dishes at the moment are the sweet corn fritters with ricotta guacamole, kasundi, bacon and egg as well as their pork and fennel lasagna, perfect for a gloomy winter’s day.
The fit out is a wonderful balance of warm and inviting, yet polished and sophisticated. The venue is well thought out with clearly-defined yet perfectly cohesive spaces such as the deli/foodstore, espresso bar, café and al fresco with little pockets of surprises around every corner.
Alimentari has been serving Veneziano Coffee for seven years. For milk based coffees they use the Forza blend and for black coffees they’ve opted for the seasonal blend, Bond Street. They truly value supporting local business so their milk of choice is from St David Dairy based in Fitzroy.
About two years ago, they introduced a microlot program which has been very well received by their customers. Head Barista, Shane says “Our customers love exploring new coffees on our microlot menu and are always eager to learn about them. Since we introduced the program, we’ve put a big emphasis on providing education for our customers and staff alike on our coffee including where it comes from, the processing method, brew recipes and cupping scores.”
Shane has been the Head Barista at Alimentari for five years and is completely committed to the ethos that Alimentari embodies – providing an experience for their customer and showcasing locally produced, premium quality goods.
Having been in the hospitality business for so many years, and establishing such a successful business, I asked Shane what would be the number one tip for success he would give on behalf of the business. “Make it approachable, humble and down to earth. We’ve created a space where people feel welcome to come in to learn, explore and experience what we have on offer. Our food and coffee menu is quite complex in nature, but we present it in a simplistic transparent way. We’re not about being pretentious but more so, sharing our knowledge and creations.”
EATERY & FOOD STORE
302 Smith Street
Collingwood Vic 3066
EATERY & DELICATESSAN
251 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy Vic 3065
7 days – 8am-6pm