Darlinghurst's veteran No Name restaurant is no more, the affordable restaurant having closed its doors on Sunday. Michael Scandiuzzo has owned the stalwart eatery for over three decades of its impressive 63-year run, surviving recessions, the axing of tax-deductible meals and fluctuating food fashion. He says the writing has been on the menu wall for some time. "It used to be very good, very busy, but the last two years have been tough," he tells Good Food.
Scandiuzzo can't pinpoint a single reason for the slowdown, but increased competition across the city and venue turnover around the Stanley Street precinct have contributed. A Herald report from 1992 suggests a former prime minister is responsible for its memorable moniker: "Inner-city legend has it that one regular patron, Mr Gough Whitlam, coined the term (No Name) in the late 1950s because the original sign, "The Faro Club", kept getting knocked off its hinges by delivery vans in the narrow Chapel Lane entrance."
The restaurant spawned a posse of namesakes, and while it deliberately left the culinary summit for other venues to climb, its reliable, inexpensive Italian food enjoyed a great run in a city not known for restaurant longevity.
NEW OWNER FOR BILL & TONI'S
Sydney institution Bill & Toni's changes owners about as often as it changes its decor or menu items. And it is that rigid devotion to coffee, classic fare and a shabby chic interior that has kept a flow of Sydneysiders coming through its doors since the 1960s. With near neighbour No Name Italian restaurant closing its doors, East Sydney regulars will be heartened to hear Bill & Toni's has a new owner who wants to retain the values of the Stanley Street gem. "To be honest I don't want to do a lot. It's iconic, we pretty much want to leave things as they are for the moment," says Chris Montel, the former owner of Concord's Espresso Organica and the award-winning West Juliette Cafe in Marrickville. "I've bought this one to keep," he adds. Departing Bill & Toni's co-owner Claude Tropea, a longtime fixture at the venue, tells Good Food he recently opened Hills Trattoria (with Bill & Toni's barista Eva Santilli), close to his home in Sydney's Hills District.
ROSE BAY SCORES A FARMERS MARKET
Panerong Reserve, the tiny triangle of turf behind the shops on New South Head Road in Rose Bay, will be home to a new weekly farmers' market from Tuesday, May 9. Some of the produce will be more local than you'd expect. Market co-organiser Madelienne Anderson says they'll be selling surplus from the Rose Bay Community Garden. "It's built on sustainable organic principles with zero food miles, providing seasonal fruit and veg farmed by the local community," Anderson says. Kiama's Pines Dairy will supply non-homogenised milk and natural yoghurt, while organic eggs will come from the Central Coast.