COVID-19’s impact on restaurant and hospitality venues across the state was devastating.
North Adelaide restaurant, PIPPO and its siblings, PUBLIC, Way Back When and Bowlsome stores all had to embrace, pivot and surge through the storm.
Pippo however, was forced to close its doors and wait for the storm to subside.
“At the time, we simply didn’t know what it meant for a venue such as Pippo’s size, or what we offered?” owner James Anthony says.
“Could we just open as a takeaway & sustain ourselves? The answer was no.”
Initially, being able to only offer takeaway, got James and his wife Danielle thinking.
“The way we looked at it, customers wanted to visit a pizza place for takeaway pizza and Italian eatery for a takeaway pasta” James said.
“We were more of an “all-rounder and the experience of being at Pippo was part of the attraction to it,” James said.
So began the first of many considerations James & Danielle had to make in regards to what Pippo was, and what it was going to be, post COVID-19.
“To say that it was a blessing seems odd, but this time did give us a chance to reset – an opportunity we would have never had prior,” James said.
“We were on the train and it was running. Open seven days and nights – The train had left the station.”
The epiphany on what they really wanted Pippo to be, happened during the time of closure.
“We felt like we underestimated what the location was capable of & also what the locals really wanted.
Given the size of the venue we felt initially it lent itself to being an “all-rounder” but we soon realised a larger breakfast, lunch & dinner destination, could also thrive on having its own niche point of difference too,” James said.
Enter Head Chef, Sam Helyard. His new menu at Pippo is short(er), but oh so sweet.
His experience in venues such as Peel St & Little Bang Brewing have been brought to this menu with a focus on wood oven cooking.
“There is a slight middle eastern influence in some dishes, rustic, fresh honest food that’s full of flavour.” Sam says.
The lunch menu consists of starters such as, Sweet & Sour sticky lamb ribs with lime & coriander, Thai Fried chicken w chilli, green papaya and bean sprout salad & Soft shell crab sliders.
Larger dishes such as, Twice cooked sticky pork belly, cucumber bean sprout & sesame salad.
Middle eastern boneless chicken leg, pearl cous sous, preserved lemon & coriander yoghurt & Wood oven roasted garfish, romesco sauce, lemon and black olive tapenade.
There are still some favourites such as our handmade gnocchi lamb ragu, but they’ll have a fresh spin on it,” Sam says.
“We’re going to use the wood oven to offer rustic pide topped with fresh seasonal ingredients, such as burrata, fresh & roasted heirloom tomatoes, san Marzano sauce or the 12 hour cooked lamb shoulder, coriander yogurt, roasted tomato & sumac – We’re not trying to be a pizza joint,” Sam says.
“Danielle & James’ main concern when we first spoke was the sheer size of the venue and ensuring there was something for everyone on the menu to enjoy. I was inspired by places such as Nomad in Sydney. Huge scale venues, but the menu still feels intimate and individual. The idea of customers being able to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner here was also important to the design & functionality of the menu,” Sam says.
“I’m also really excited to create a tight team at Pippo. The general vibe is that everyone is dying to get back to cooking! It’s our passion, so we want to get back in the kitchen again and create,” Sam says.
Creating this tight efficient team with an even more streamlined menu to smash those busy days, was behind the decision to close to the general public for two nights of the week.
“We will now close on Sunday and Monday at 5pm,” says Danielle. This also opens us up to opportunities to hire the space out for events, as we’ve had so many enquires of people loving the feel of the space.”
Along with many other small business’ during Covid, this really was the time to pause for a moment and make a decision on what our business model looks like.”
We have many friends in the industry who have taken this time to do just that, and I think, we will ALL be better for it, Danielle says.
Pippo will re-open Friday June 5 from 7am.
Pippo can be found at 67 O’Connell St, North Adelaide.