If opening one restaurant is hard, try opening two. The team behind popular westside burger joint 8bit are juggling twin projects: a new 8bit outlet at 231 Swanston Street, Melbourne, due to open in late November, and Up in Smoke, a broadly American-inspired barbecue restaurant expected to open in Footscray by January.
The 8bit spin-off has begun taking shape in a small former convenience store on the corner of Swanston and Little Bourke streets. It will have seating for about 20 at a squeeze, and will be open daily from 11am until late.
They'll serve the same menu that pulls a crowd in Footscray – burgers on brioche buns, hot dogs doused with curry ketchup or pickle relish, sides of onion rings and potato gems, and milkshakes dosed with salted caramel or peanut butter.
Up in Smoke is a more ambitious undertaking. Co-owner Shayne McCallum, who plied his trade at Blakes in Southgate and Captain Melville before opening 8bit with Alan Sam, promises smoke, meat and beer.
Up in Smoke will have a modern look and feel, says McCallum, with a big beer garden out front and craft beers made by local producers.
But the centrepiece will be a $20,000 Yoder Frontiersman offset smoker, which will be visible from the dining room.
As well as traditional American-style barbecue dishes such as brisket and pulled pork, they'll be using smoke as a component in contemporary dishes involving oysters, tomatoes, jalapeno chillies and mushrooms.
Up in Smoke is expected to open at 28 Hopkins Street, Footscray, in December or January.