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December 20, 2018

CityMag’s top 10 most read stories of 2018

New pubs, reborn burgers, business closures, and a bloody good bowl of soup - here are the CityMag stories that meant the most to you in 2018.

With every passing year, Adelaide’s cultural metamorphosis metabolises at increasingly break-neck speeds.

We at CityMag have spent 2018 with pen, paper, and DSLR in hand, documenting our evolving streets as fastidiously as possible, telling the stories we hope are important to you and showing Adelaide in its best light (for the most part – see #5).

While every story is a favourite in our eyes, here’s our top 10 tales of 2018, according to how you clicked.


10. Adelaide’s Most Under-rated Falafel

It turns out you, like us, were looking for a falafel that was unlike all we’d had before, by which we mean served from a truck between 1am—4am to a consumer with not enough wits about them to make a wiser decision. (We’ve all been there.)

Real Falafel, however, is the real deal. Since we published our piece, Real Falafel has expanded to Plant 4 in Bowden and has rolled out a Real Falafel food truck, available for events and no doubt popping up at a park near you soon.


9. Josh Baker to launch his most ambitious project yet

When one of the guys behind such iconic Adelaide venues as Whistle & Flute, Port Admiral Hotel, Pink Moon Saloon, Clever Little Tailor, Larry & Ladd, Coffee Branch, and Just Down the Road announces a new project, of course it gets chins wagging.

Seven months on, we’re still yet to see the fruits of Josh Baker’s partnership with John Savva in Prince Alfred Lane, but when it eventuates it’s sure to be big.

Stay tuned to CityMag in 2019 for more on Part Time Lover.


8. The Stag Hotel reopens as The Stag Public House

Despite its cornerstone location in Adelaide’s East End, long-term success has evaded the Stag in recent years.

In August this year – 169 years after its first liquor licence was approved, to the date – the pub reopened with fresh blood in its veins, fresh beer in its taps, and with a fit out that introduced not only a reinvigorated pub, but multiple identities: a front bar, a sports-focussed clubhouse, functions upstairs, and Charlick’s facing Vardon Avenue.

To us, it also signifies an important moment in the history Adelaide’s small venue licence, as operators, like the NOLA crew, who got their start in small bars, graduate to larger projects and begin to push the rudder directing our city’s future in a new direction.


7. The Golden Wattle restaurant and bar blooms on Pirie Street

You guys bloody love a new pub.

The Golden Wattle was the coming together of an impressive collection of hospo heads, from The Metro, Magill Estate, The Port Admiral, Midnight Spaghetti, and The Exeter, and judging by the lack of real estate available at tables inside and out come lunchtime, Pirie Street is thankful for the effort.


6. New hope in Adelaide cold case of the Somerton Man

True crime as a genre is having a moment in 2018(/19), and with it has come renewed interest in one of the most curious cold cases in Adelaide’s history – the mystery of Tamam Shud.

CityMag received the call from writer Aimee Knight (above right) that she and doctor of forensic science, Renee Blackie, would be applying a rigorous research-oriented approach to the case, implementing a world-first trace DNA sampling technique, developed in part by Renee at the Flinders University Forensic DNA laboratory.

We wait with bated breath for news, so if you want to release your book, like, now, Aimee, that would be great. Thanks.


5. Red Door Bakery’s story is the story of Adelaide

Try as we might, it’s not all good news in Adelaide’s food and beverage scene.

We saw a number of venues close throughout 2018, and news of the shuttering of Red Door Bakery and Croydon Social hit us particularly hard.

It was not only a story of a family business coming to an end, but showed the consequences of embarking on a major development project without proper consideration of the communities likely to be impacted. The theme repeated one week later.

As the year comes to a close though, there is news that may herald a positive future for Elizabeth Street, Croydon; Billy’s Table has moved into the space vacated by Croydon Social, and while reporting that story we heard whispers of Abbots & Kinney moving into the former Red Door Bakery shopfront.


4. At the bleeding edge: Burger Theory’s new menu

For Burger Theory, the year began with a flurry of vitriolic Facebook reviews decrying their switch from an all-beef patty to a kangaroo/beef hybrid ‘smashed patty’.

It was intended as a sustainable response to customer feedback the business regularly received that patrons could easily get a cheaper burger down the road.

Chasing cheaper beef is “a race to the bottom,” Burger Theory co-owner Robert Dean told us, and rather than run that race and bring the quality of their burger down with it, they opted to try and “change the way consumers and our own industry thinks about what they’re putting in their mouths,” Dan Mendelson, Rob’s business partner, said.

Some people, perhaps, were prompted to think; others jumped on facebook and mashed their keyboards until they passed out from blind rage (presumably).

For what it’s worth, we think the patties are great, and we could eat karkalla pickles every day until the end of time.


3. Small bar West opens above Melt Henley

The small venue licence has bred a special kind of enthusiasm for bar culture in the CBD, and while some in the suburbs decry the lack of a like licence as a hindrance to the spread of good natured boozeries outside of the CBD, others just go ahead and build them.

Perched above Melt Henley and SeaSalt below, West comes from the Kardachi stable, fronted by Maybe Mae co-owner and operator, Ollie Margan, and you’ll find us on the terrace sipping cocktails right throughout summer.


2. The flipside of power: SA’s top 20 most influential people

In September CityMag released its inaugural ‘power’ print edition, in which we explored the theme in its many guises, from the natural energy company recently bought out by much touted Whyalla saviour, Sanjeev Gupta, to this little listicle looking at those who hold power in public, and those who pull the strings from behind the curtain.

Apparently our most controversial call was countering the influence of News Corp’s SA, WA, NT and TAS editorial director against the anonymous Instagram account, ShitAdelaide. You had some things to say about that.


1. Adelaide’s best ramen

All this fuss for a bowl of soup.

To be honest, we knew we were onto a good thing when the story was picked up less than 24 hours later by our good friends over at Glam Adelaide with some very, very similar-sounding quotes.

If you’ve sat for a meal at Contemporary Japanese Deli, though, you know what the fuss is about. Owner Sid Owa has a pretty simple philosophy underlying his business: “I didn’t want to rip anyone off,” he told us back in March.

“That was the one thing, when starting this restaurant with my family, I wanted to do – Japanese food at a Japanese price. It’s totally a rip off if you charge $13 for katsudon.”

While the price point is impressive – $8.80! For top-notch ramen! – it’s the quality that comes from Sid’s dad’s 25 years in the industry that meant we couldn’t say anything else about our experience, other than to call it Adelaide’s best ramen.

You clicked, you read, and we hope you agreed.


Thanks for reading throughout 2018. We’ll be back at it in early Jan, and you can keep up to date with the story of your city, as told by us, by signing up to our weekly digital edition, sent out at 3pm every Thursday. Enjoy the break!

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