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July 17, 2020

Fugazzi Bar & Dining Room is coming to the old Rigoni’s site on Leigh Street

The old Rigoni’s site will see a new, as yet undefined, concept from Simon Kardachi, Laura and Max Sharrad and Justin Lane, with design by studio -gram.

  • Words and pictures: Johnny von Einem

“Today we can confirm what may be the Adelaide hospitality industry’s worst kept secret – a deal has been struck on the former Rigoni’s site,” a press release from the new restaurant says.


Subscribe to CityMag for updates as Fugazzi Bar & Dining Room progresses.

For background on the Rigoni’s site, read InDaily’s coverage on its closure and the interest in the site that followed.

The deal is one struck between landlord George Ginos, who has a long history with Kardachi venues, and a new but familiar restaurant ownership group, consisting of Simon Kardachi, Laura Sharrad, Max Sharrad, and Justin Lane.

At this current moment in time, Fugazzi Bar & Dining is simply a name (and one that sounds a little like a red herring, being New York slang meaning fake), but the press release suggests the new venue that eventuates will draw heavily on Laura and Max’s influences, evolving from their work at Nido in Hyde Park.

“My experience on MasterChef this year made me realise that I wanted to own another business – I want to venture out and do even more,” Laura says.

“I like the direction of this new project, because Nido is all about what Max and I grew up eating, and I like to think this new one will be a bit more of a flex, somewhere you can dress up and make an occasion of it.

“It’ll be a bit more modern, a bit more sophisticated. Influenced but not bound by tradition.”

Nido launched in the April last year, following the closure of the long-standing Kardachi restaurant, The Pot.

The contemporary Italian pasta bar was hampered early on in its life by the “disruptive King William Road ‘upgrade’,” the press release says, and even more so with the COVID shutdown.

It’s relative success in the face of these adverse trading conditions bolstered the relationship between Simon and the Sharrads, leading them to consider additional projects.

“I think Max is an outstanding chef, but more than that, I like the way he thinks,” Simon says.

“He’s driven, ambitious, accountable and hungry for success. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do together with this one.

“Laura is a huge asset to Nido and will really come into her own with this new venture. Laura easily handles both kitchen and FOH; she makes customers feel at home and makes the small Nido team feel like family.

“And obviously, she can cook. All of Australia knows that.”

The final piece of the Fugazzi Bar & Dining Room puzzle, Justin Lane, is well known amongst wine-loving South Australians, having founded many iconic wine labels: Alpha Box & DiceFreddy Nerks and King & Country. He also founded Sturt Street wine bar Cantina Sociale in 2013.

He has most recently been working within Kardachi restaurants as a wine consultant.

“Justin is a true gentleman. He knows his stuff, and he can convey it in a way that doesn’t make people feel stupid. This venue will be bringing back some old-school hospitality grandeur and I feel like Justin is the right person to lead it,” Simon says.

Fugazzi Bar & Dining Room is scheduled to launch in early 2021, with finer details around the concept and studio -gram fit out still to be confirmed.

“All parties literally met on site together for the first time this week, so nothing is final yet,” the statement says.

“It will be an evolution of the space, as well as an evolution of Max and Laura’s cooking styles.

“Watch this space.”

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