The less Adam Robinson needs to leave his neighbourhood the better.
The co-founder and executive chef of Lockwood General has lived near King William Road for the past eight years, enjoying the convenience of having excellent restaurants and coffee spots just a short stroll from his doorstep. But there’s been something missing.
“I felt like the restaurant market was covered really well, but for me, if I want to just pop out, have a couple of casual drinks, I’ve only really got the option of going to the pub,” he tells Broadsheet.
“That sort of lacks intimacy and a certain vibrancy that a smaller, more intimate venue can provide. I also don’t want to go all the way over to Regions Cellars or The Ed to get a bottle of wine.”
Robinson hopes his latest venture, Willy’s Wine Shop, will fill that gap. He and business partners Jess and Darren Packer (who own a trio of neighbouring shops – Nature’s Providore, Nature’s Living and Nettle & Knead – on Duthy Street in Malvern) will open the wine bar and bottle shop in June, inside the old Plant B Life site.
Selling everything from Tasmanian rieslings to French chablis, Willy’s will be an “eclectic” wine bar that has a compact food menu of snacks that aren’t too heavy, says Robinson. Think crisps with salmon roe and nori cream, cheeses and small goods from Bottega Rotolo, small plates of vegetables, and a dessert made with Steven ter Horst chocolate.
It’s Robinson’s second new venue in a little under 12 months. He opened Burnside’s Lockwood General with the crew behind Peter Rabbit and Bloom to roaring success last year, and was looking to move into nighttime trade. He considered opening this venue in Semaphore, but kept coming back to the potential he saw along Hyde Park’s main drag.
“I think there should be a bit of everything around, and to me, that was all that was lacking along that street,” Robinson says.
“I want to reinvigorate a bit of that community spirit after a tough couple of years with Covid-19. I think if any silver lining is to come out of this, it’s the reinvigoration of Adelaide [by] developing suburban boroughs.”
Robinson and the Packers have designed the “moody”, dimly-lit venue themselves, complete with a feature wall of wine and a custom library ladder.
“All of the wine at hand will be on display so there won’t be any out the back in boxes,” he says. “We’ve got a beautiful big library ladder, which is being custom-made, which will look really stunning.
“I want Willy’s to be something that’s really out of left-field and a little intergenerational. We’re taking what we’re doing seriously, we’re just not taking ourselves too seriously.”
Willy’s Wine Shop will open at 1/96 King William Rd, Goodwood in June.