Julia Jenkins and Chris Badenoch pictured in their restaurant in 2011. Photo: Craig Sillitoe
MasterChef alumni Chris Badenoch and Julia Jenkins are moving on from their nose-to-tail eatery Josie Bones, with the restaurant due to close at the end of February.
Restaurateur Matteo Bruno will takeover the Collingwood site to open a third Meatball & Wine Bar outlet.
After handing over the keys, newlyweds Badenoch and Jenkins will focus on a new, pared-down microbrewery venture Boneyard Brewing.
Inside Josie Bones, Collingwood. Photo: Eddie Jim
In September last year, the couple's Collingwood restaurant was reported to have been facing a $125,000 tax bill. With 18 months left on their Smith Street lease, an attractive offer from Bruno to take on the site was a match made in heaven.
"It's no secret that it's been a tough 12 months for us," says Badenoch, adding that the pair will be "sad to close the doors here but we're really excited at the same time; it's enabled us to evolve the brewing side of things". With a range of specialty beers, a big outdoor beer garden and a couple of American-style offset smoker BBQs, the casual space in an inner-north warehouse - the exact location is yet to be divulged - will focus on "a simple food and beer offering, with lots of events". The pair is hopeful for an April opening.
Bruno also hopes to open this third outlet at the Smith Street site in April/May. An upstairs bar is planned for later down the track - plus a further roll-out of the MWB concept to Windsor, Sydney and Perth.
"Smith Street has positioned itself as a major dining precinct, [so] Meatballs will be in great company," says Bruno.