CityMag talks to the co-owner of award-winning wine bar Good Gilbert about a new sister restaurant opening in the suburbs - and plans for two more tasty dining ventures.
Good Gilbert’s sister Good Burger opens in January
Hints of a new Wilson Shawyer project in the works emerged via an ambiguous Instagram tease.
The post was captioned “Site 3, let’s gooooo @588goodwood” paired with a cropped photo of black boots resting on grey and white checked tiles. We were interested.
588 Goodwood Road, Daw Park 5041
Slated to open in early January
Wilson is the co-owner of Good Gilbert, and 2023 has been an award-winning year for the neighbourhood bar.
In Good Gilbert’s third year of existence, Wilson and his team decided it was time to expand.
“We are always looking for a new space and new places to go to, like the amount of properties that I look at a year [for] potential bars is wild,” he says.
“But it always comes down to location — it has to be a special location — it has to have something that can tie us there.
“So, the idea of us opening up in Daw Park… [is because] it’s the perfect neighbourhood spot.”
With an early January opening date, Wilson says the new joint is “the opposite to everything that Good Gilbert is”.
“Good Gilbert is wine-focused and more modern Australian cuisine with French twists,” he says.
“This is going to be a focus on beers, cocktails, sodas, spirits with like this jazzed-up, trashy, American diner-style menu.”
Good Burger will use the same silly tropes as Good Gilbert “because it’s us” Wilson says, while ‘Piece Of My Heart’ by Janis Joplin plays in the background.
The signature dish is a cheeseburger in potato buns with sweet, salty, spicy tomato relish, caramelised onion, a smashed patty and an elevated cheese inclusion.
“We’re going to be working with Kris Lloyd, the cheesemaker, and she has got this cheese that acts the same way as what Raclette cheese does when it’s under heat, so the way that it melts, and then you can scrape on to a dish,” Wilson says.
“She’s got a goat and cow and a buffalo cheese that has the same factors that we need… so we’re going to be using that and scraping fresh onto the cheeseburger.
“It’s that real savoury, bougie element.”
Wilson says Good Burger “is not just a burger shop” but admits the team has “put their foot in it a little bit with the naming of it”.
Other menu items are fried chicken with melted cheese and loaded fries with crispy pancetta.
The alcohol offering will include a curated beer list as well as a mix of “spiked sodas”.
Wilson says he wants to mix both a level of elegance and light-heartedness into Good Burger, contributing to it “becoming the destination” outside of the city.
“We just want to present this really fun, vibrant, family-friendly alternative to the area,” he says.
The interior choices are also the opposite of Good Gilbert.
“We have found a beautiful orange and depending on the light or the time of the day, it gives off a different colour,” Wilson says, standing amongst the chaos of a half-renovated venue.
“The chairs are these really pretty old-school American diner-style chairs, but they’re very modern and unique, this beautiful chrome framework with this beautiful green velvet cushion.
“And then again covered in tons and tons of really cool art that just immerses yourself into the experience and makes you feel like you’re transported somewhere else.”
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Wilson lived and worked in London for a decade in his early hospo years and wants to bring what he loved about that time to Goodwood.
“You can have your cake and eat it too,” Wilson says. “Like you can have nice venues that are accessibly priced and welcoming to people of all walks of life.”
“That’s what we want to give — we want to give the people the same opportunity that we had in Europe.
“Our industry is about experience. You’re going out to create an experience, to create a memory and we can help add details to that memory and give people that story that they’d walk away from and they’re like: ‘Fuck, that’s what we want to do.’”
While Good Gilbert has ridden the highs of success, a low came when Wilson lost his ability to smell and taste last year, forcing him to take a step back from his business duties.
“2023 has been the year of absolute highs and absolute lows,” Wilson says.
“But then on the back of that to see Good Gilbert just continue to dominate — it blows my mind.”
The loss of senses was a result of a scooter accident on his way home from work. Wilson broke his back and also suffered internal bleeding from a concussion.
“I’m happy, I’m healthy. We’ve got a great team. It’s given me a really wonderful opportunity to stand back [because] I have to stand back,” he says.
“I can’t sit here and say what wine we should or shouldn’t be buying or tasting because as the world changes, as climate change goes through, as vintages change, it’s going to be very difficult to understand wines as they come out. Not the same capability I used to have.”
Wilson attributes his 2023 Good Gilbert recognition to the culture created within the venue.
“I don’t think that I, or my wife, or our chef do anything special in particular,” he says.
“I think it all comes down to the staff that we have and I think, for us, culture is a big thing and we’re big believers in giving the staff a sense of ownership and responsibility and being part of the whole process.”
Wilson has two other venues in the works for 2024.
“We are opening a high-end casual dining restaurant in Goodwood. It’s an intimate 34-seater. It’s named Asha. It is going to be fucking gorgeous,” he declares.
“The other one is going to be a sports bar in Torrensville — real American-style sports bar — with fun seating, tons of TV screens, good food offering, a beautiful pool table.
“There’s one [sports bar] which is in the city, but unless you go to a pub or go to their sports bar, there’s no dedicated sports venue — but it’s not going to be a trashy sports venue, it’s going to be everything.”
Good Burger is located at 588 Goodwood Road, Daw Park and is slated to open in early January.
Connect with the business on Instagram for more.