The Stalactites Group buys two George Calombaris restaurants

The Stalactites shopfront at the south west corner of Lonsdale and Russell streets in the Melbourne CBD.

The owner of popular Greek restaurant Stalactites has snapped up two venues affected by last month’s collapse of celebrity chef George Calombaris’ MAdE Establishment Group.

The Stalactites Group will take over Jimmy Grants souvlaki stores at Emporium Melbourne, in the CBD, and Fitzroy.

It is paying an as-yet-undisclosed sum.

Both venues will reopen as Hella Good restaurants: first, within the Emporium food court, in about June.

The Fitzroy facility – the flagship Jimmy Grants – will trade from later this year, The Stalactites Group Nicole Papasavas told Greek news outlet in this item.

“We feel very sad about what’s happened with MAdE Establishment Group, however with this opportunity to take on these two great Jimmy Grants stores, we are doing what we can to support the staff and rework them back into our business”.

Three senior staff have already accepted offers to stay on.

Many more have sent resumes, Ms Papasavas told The Gourmet Traveller in this piece.

The group is seeking long-term staff to work at Stalactites and Hella Good.

“At Stalactites, some staff have been there for 20 or more years, the manager added. “We’re a family business and we try to keep it homely”.

Hella Good expansion bucks disastrous retail trend

Hella Good, a quick service souvlaki store opened in 2017, currently only has one outlet, at 7 Elizabeth Street in the Melbourne CBD.

Ms Papasavas said that while there was no rush to expand, when MAdE Establishment Group announced it entered voluntary administration “we thought ‘This is actually a good opportunity to find a site that’s ready to go”.

Five former Jimmy Grants restaurants are still for sale – at Chadstone Shopping Centre (Malvern East), Eastland (Ringwood), Ormond, Richmond and St Kilda.

Last month administrator KordaMentha sold MAdE Establishment Group’s Hellenic Republic in Church Street, Brighton, and ex-Hellenic Republic eateries in Kew (later known as Vita Ristorante) and Brunswick East (last operating as Crofter Dining Room & Bar).

News of Hella Good expanding follows a disastrous 18 months for the retail sector with hundreds of landlords affected by the dozens of Australian businesses entering administration including, since December, Bardot, ISHKA and Jeanswest.

Last week Alex Perry announced he would close his flagship store in The Strand Arcade, Sydney.

On Tuesday Spotlight Group acquired Harris Scarfe which entered voluntary administration late last year.

In January, 21 Harris Scarfe outlets across five states were closed, leaving 44.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of