Tooboorac pies, some of Victoria's most road trip-worthy, have found a home in Carlton, along with a rich supply of other quality products from around the state.
James and Valerie Carlin have come full circle. In 2005, the Melbourne expats bought the Tooborac hotel, restoring it to its original glory and later adding a thriving microbrewery and pie shop. Now, they're turning the Elgin Street scrapyards into a provedore and event space so they can bring the best of the country to the city.
It's an ambitious two-pronged project. Now open, but awaiting a liquor licence, an Astro-turfed shopfront is Tooborac Pies and Beer, selling the regional hotel's hefty 400-gram pies, from the bourbon-marinated rabbit rambler to their chunky beef number featuring Tooborac golden ale, to eat in (hot) or take away (cold), along with relishes, sodas and other products from regional Vic. Now a day-only operation, hours may extend to 8pm when a licence lands.
But the main project, From the Collective, will occupy the huge rear warehouse from mid-October. Part market, part bar and event space, the idea is to create a community hub for Carlton and allow regional producers to showcase their goods, host classes and product launches and hopefully lure locals out to the source.
A bar with 15 taps will rotate through Tooborac's beers and other rural brews. The coffee grinders will use beans from eight regional roasters. A food truck will showcase the goods for sale (steak sandwiches made with belted Galloway; Istra kranskies). All products, which will include ice-cream, wines, ciders, breads, pastas, beauty products, indoor plants, and smallgoods, must be from 40 kilometres outside Melbourne (but within Victoria), and made by the owners.
Tooborac Pies and Beer is now open Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat-Sun 10am-4pm (hours will vary) at 143 Elgin Street, Carlton. From the Collective will open mid-October.