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May 17, 2020

Wholly Belly refused to give up

Family-owned and operated, Wholly Belly's survival is about a lot more than dollars and cents.

  • Words:Ruby Leventeris
  • Pictures: Andrè Castellucci


At the Western end of Magill Road, hugging Kent Town, Wholly Belly is an expansion on a theme started more than a decade ago by Mary and Glenn Smith.

“I’m stubborn, I wasn’t ready to give up and was going to push through,” Mary tells CityMag, continuing, “we are a small family business and felt the effects immediately.”


Magill Road

Wholly Belly
24 Magill Road, Norwood


This week, in partnership with the City of Norwood Payneham St Peters, CityMag is showcasing the resilience of the businesses on Magill Road in the face of the COVID-19 shutdown.

Mary Smith and her family are the force behind Wholly Belly, its wood oven kitchen and innovative cafe. Mary is proud of her business – where you can not only buy a delicious wood oven pizza, but can buy a complete wood oven to take away. However, it’s the space she has created with her family and staff in these tough times that’s really showed her what Wholly Belly is all about.

“Gaining JobKeeper for a few of my staff was extremely beneficial and we have amazing loyal customers that continue to come in everyday, even when working from home,” Mary says

Mary has had to adapt her business by offering takeaway but has been on the receiving end of many amazing customer experiences in the Wholly Belly community.

“We have a customer that is now working from home and lives in Rostrevor, however, still comes in to support each day,” Mary says.

“Another customer has bought a $200 gift voucher, however, has not used it and continues to come in regularly and doesn’t use the voucher.”

Mary assumes he is saving the voucher for when Wholly Belly gets back to some normalcy and is grateful for the support from the community.

Although Facebook has also become Wholly Belly’s weapon, with Mary constantly changing up the meal choices, Friday night specials and weekend deals, Mary knows it isn’t the same level of business.

“(Facebook deals) …have become popular, however are not reaching a broader market, there is so much choice out there at the moment in terms of delivery and even the best restaurants have delivery options,” Mary says.


“People prefer not to travel so far, and price point has a lot to do with it.”

Mary has adapted her takeaway specials based around what she would choose to feed her family and has even done a date night option that includes a meal and a bottle of wine, making it a seamless experience.

“I cook with a lot of love and take a lot of things into consideration when planning what specials to do or promote,” Mary says.

“Popularity, practicality, and availability are important, and it really does depend on what I have and what is available.

“I am fussy in the choices I make, and my choices for meals are based on the best produce, what is in season and at a good price as well as what is available from the markets at a great quality.

“I make more work for myself, by making smaller batches of fresh meals that people can buy, rather than a larger quantity of frozen options.”

And while Mary’s regular catering jobs and cooking classes have been postponed, she says nothing can stop the demand for their wood ovens.

“Building and constructing wood ovens is a big part of our business,” says Mary. “It’s a good thing it’s kept going.”


More stories of Magill Road Resilience:

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