Maryanne Wong lists landmark Footscray restaurant, plans retirement

Hospitality veteran Maryanne Wong, who with her late husband, Jim, created one of Melbourne’s most revered Chinese restaurants, is shutting shop and selling.

Jim Wong Restaurant at 259-261 Barkly Street, Footscray, was opened in 1959 by Mr Wong, who married Ms Wong seven years later.

The restaurant is renown for its dim sims, a la carte dishes and slew of celebrity diners including Footscray Football Club players – with photos adorned on an entrance wall of sports identities, including Merv Hughes, with Mr Wong.

The double fronted Jim Wong Restaurant covers a 580 square metre site zoned Activity Centre, making it appropriate for high rise, high density residential projects.

The proprietors lived in an apartment above the double fronted shop, raising three children, and working seven days a week.

When Mr Wong died suddenly in 2016, aged 75, Ms Wong – the same age – vowed to continue the business for a couple more years.

It has now been three – and Sutton Commercial’s Mark Sutton has been appointed to sell the freehold.

Ms Wong told this reporter, as a diner, in April, that she expects the property to attract interest from apartment developers – following the construction of several medium density projects in the immediate vicinity.

The 580 square metre plot, zoned Activity Centre, has access to a right-of-way, which the local council named Jim Wong Lane.

The property also includes four car parks.

A Google Maps image used in the online advertisement for 259-261 Barkly Street, Footscray.

With sale proceeds, Ms Wong said she intends to travel.

The closure of Jim Wong Restaurant leaves the T Cavallaro and Sons Bakery – which opened in 1956 and catered for that year’s Melbourne Olympics – as one of the suburb’s longest surviving retailers.

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Marc Pallisco

A freelance property analyst and journalist, Marc is a co-founder of realestatesource.com.au.

Marc Pallisco