Steel Bar and Grill, Carrington Street
New order ... Steel Bar & Grill will be overseen by businessman David Wallace. Photo: Simon Alekna

Scott Bolles

Steel Bar & Grill, the city-centre restaurant with an extravagant Michael McCann design, has been sold.

Departing co-owner Damian Heads, a winner of the Josephine Pignolet Best Young Chef award, says he and his partners will concentrate on the expansion of their Pony restaurant empire.

With restaurant investment on the nose in many quarters, who is behind the sale? David Wallace is one of Steel's new owners. The Sydney restaurant consultant has been quietly placing his chips on the Sydney food table; he is the businessman behind the clever Opera Kitchen development at the Sydney Opera House and  a shareholder in Cloudy Bay Fish Co at Westfield Sydney.

''David will oversee [Steel],'' says his partner at Steel, David Tracy. ''He's pointing the ship.''

Tracy has had his own curious route into restaurants. A cattle farmer in the Hunter Valley, he says pollution caused by coal mining in the area made him consider a career change.

''I didn't see a future in the land,'' Tracy says. However, he'll put some of that knowledge of raising beef to use: ''We'll offer a greater selection of steaks.''