The newest iteration of the Hilton Hotel eatery, Bobbi's Bar and Restaurant, fired up the new pizza oven in August in a nod to the hotel's long-term owner.
Hilton Hotel honours Bobbi with new space
Hilton Hotel managing director James Franzon says life lessons from his father, Robert (Bobbi) Franzon, impact the way he runs the family-owned pub.
Bobbi’s Bar and Restaurant
264 South Road, Hilton
Tue: 12pm ’til 3pm, then 6pm ’til 9pm
Wed—Fri: 12pm ’til 3pm, then 6pm ’til 10pm
Sat: 6pm ’til 10pm
“I think it’s probably the attitude towards the business itself,” James says.
“A lot of people in business are always worried about the bottom dollar, and where can I cut? And how do I get the staff to listen to me or work harder? Or how do I push people harder?
“He was a bit more casual, more of a character, liked to embrace the social aspects of the hotel and the interaction with the customers.”
The renovated space, formerly Fedora’s, is now an ode to the historic hotel and the family who have run it for more than four decades.
Prominently scattered across the restaurant, on coasters and the walls, are old black-and-white photographs that are significant to the Bobbi clan.
“All the imagery that we’ve used are personal family, historic images, or historic images of the hotel,” James explains.
“They’re from our family albums, and they’re from our experiences — not from just mine, but my father’s.”
James says he appreciates being able to give a nod to the hotel’s heritage by paying homage to the original owner – his dad.
“The hotel was part of the family and when you look back at the photos, you feel the nostalgia and it brings you back to that point in time,” James says.
So when the team decided to elevate the hotel’s dining experience and turn it into Bobbi’s Bar and Restaurant, Robert’s ethos was carried throughout.
“[We] embrace that relationship that you have with the hotel, and its patrons and people working with you,” James says.
“You want to enjoy the food that you’re serving, and you know that your patrons will enjoy because you’ve tried everything, you love everything.”
The food now being served at Bobbi’s Bar and Restaurant is an elevated pub experience.
“It’s probably more like a gastronomic pub or hotel,” James says.
“More share items, Italian influence with the ingredients, and obviously the pizza, [but] with your comfortable staples — you have your steaks, your fish, pasta.”
Like many new places opening in Adelaide, Bobbi’s has a shared menu to cater to what the regulars want.
“Families come in [and have] smaller portions of the shares so everyone can have a bit of each,” head chef Mareko Webb says.
“It’s more of a modern Australian to Mediterranean menu.”
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Mareko spent months testing his version of a perfect pizza dough for the menu’s showcase pizzas. The final product takes 48 to 72 hours to create depending on factors like the weather, and results in a light, fluffy yet crunchy base.
“It’s traditional Napoli style — a lot of work and failure have gone into [the pizzas] and fresh ingredients,” Mareko says.
“Pizzas can change depending on the heat of the day, the moisture, what season it is,” James elaborates.
“So the skill of getting consistency is the knowledge, and being able to see exactly how it’s reacting to heat, how you stretch, how you mix.
“It’s a real skill —people just think pizza is pizza. On a day-to-day basis, it changes.”
There are classics like Margarita and Marinara, but Bobbi’s also offers unique toppings such as the Ortolana with zucchini, eggplant, artichoke and olives, and La Carne with smoked ham, salami, hot Italian sausage and barbecue sauce.
There is of course traditional pub fare, with Robert’s personal favourite, a chicken parmy, making the menu.
The family has also given the room a significant refresh.
“It’s light and bright,” James says.
“With lighter timbers and pearlescent tiles, a little bit of natural stone, nice, soft, rounded edges.
“Probably a little bit of Mediterranean [interiors] with terracotta and splashes of colour.”
Bobbi’s Bar and Restaurant is located at 264 South Road, Hilton 5033.
It’s open on Tuesday from 12pm until 3pm, then 6pm until 9pm, Wednesday to Friday from 12pm until 3pm, then 6pm until 10pm, and Saturday from 6pm until 10pm.
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