Carlton grocer King & Godfree gears up for expansion

Familiar ground: Jamie Valmorbida (centre), with Luca Sbardella and Lisa Valmorbida at the King & Godfree deli and wine ...
Familiar ground: Jamie Valmorbida (centre), with Luca Sbardella and Lisa Valmorbida at the King & Godfree deli and wine store on Lygon Street. Photo: Luis Ascui

After two and a half years' planning, the blueprint for the revamp of Carlton's King & Godfree has been finalised. The Italian deli and licensed food store, established in 1884 on the corner of Lygon and Faraday streets, was bought by the late Carlo Valmorbida in 1955 and is still owned by the Valmorbida family.

Of the new development, Carlo's grandson Jamie Valmorbida says, "What we're creating is a retail and dining precinct, a collection of smaller independent brands all complementary to one another, centred around Italian provenance, food and wine."

Jamie's sister Lisa opened gelateria Pidapipo at 299 Lygon Street late last year. The second stage to open will be a neighbouring wine bar and store that will have an underground cellar focusing on high-end wines, and a more casual ground level with wines on tap, by the glass, half-carafe and carafe.

What is currently King & Godfree at 293 Lygon, will close in October to be redesigned. There will be an espresso bar at the front with panini and casual meals, such as meatballs and lasagne, with the deli and produce at the back.

The currently vacant space on Faraday Street will be an Italian restaurant. Valmorbida says they are in negotiations with some chefs from Melbourne and Sydney, but who will take it on is yet to be decided.

The wine bar and store is due to open mid-2015, and the espresso bar and deli will be operating by Christmas.