By leaving the previous tenant’s neon ‘Chinese Restaurant’ sign up, this Korean restaurant hoped to bank on an underlying current of the ‘they all look alike’ mentality to put bums on seats. Perhaps it’s a good thing then that they’re no longer in business? In reality it looks like this restaurant was part of the ‘by the people, for the people’ trend that saw Chinese restaurants originally established to appeal to the more adventurous members of white Australian communities replaced with Korean restaurants designed to cater to the area’s blossoming Korean community…and it closed because apparently, the food sucked. Japanese next time?
The Pure Platinum strip joint isn’t exactly known for virgin talent, and the signage is no exception:
I really hope that’s not a euphemism. Anyway, the most notable previous tenant of this location was another kind of dance studio, opened by Irene Vera Young in 1937. Young had won gold in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games for dancing, and was the only non-German to do so. When establishing her Sydney studio, she claimed her goal was to make it ‘a centre of dance culture’. 75 years later, mission accomplished.
Continued from Part III…
In mid-1975, Willesee, a current affairs program on Channel 7, received a tip-off from Bankstown Council garbagemen that a hamburger restaurant at Bankstown had, on a regular basis, some very odd items in its dumpsters out the back. When reporters from the program went down to the Bankstown Hartee’s to investigate, they found that the bins outside were full of dog food cans. Further investigation revealed that the dog food was in fact being sliced into patties and used on the burgers at this particular location:
The devastating report went to air, cripping the Hartee’s brand in the public eye. Despite there being no evidence that such a practice went on in other Hartee’s locations, Kelloggs quickly and quietly abandoned its fast food venture. No official comment was given other than a generic ‘the venture was no longer profitable’ statement.
Almost overnight, all Hartee’s locations were closed and sold. Today, almost nothing remains of the Hartee’s legacy except the stores documented in this series. The Bankstown location subsequently became a Chinese restaurant and a variety of bottle shops. Other locations, such as Hartee’s Liverpool, Manly Vale and Kogarah, have since been demolished.
As previously mentioned, Kelloggs planned to open more than 100 locations around the country, but only 17 were ever opened. It wasn’t until Red Rooster, and even more successfully, Oporto, that an Australian-owned fast food brand managed to establish itself.
Had the scandal not occurred, Hartee’s may have emerged as the primary fast food outlet in Australia today instead of fading into obscurity, but thanks to the actions of some goofballs on minimum wage, it’s a world we’ll never know.
HEARTY UPDATE: There’s more. Always can do one more.
Since 1913, this address on Hay Street in Haymarket had been used as a produce merchant, importing and exporting goods to and from China and Hong Kong. The first leaseholder was a ‘Lee Sang & Co, and throughout the first half of the 20th century, all subsequent leaseholders were companies run by descendants of those involved in the Lee Sang & Co outfit. These companies provided fruit, vegetables and other fresh produce to the city produce markets across the street, now Paddy’s Markets. When the produce markets moved to Flemington in 1977, this address was taken over by Dominic Choy, an architect who had emigrated to Australia in 1962. He refitted the building and opened a restaurant, Choys 1000 A.D. in 1981.
At that time Choy already had other restaurants in Randwick and Gordon, and by 1989 he had six locations all around the city (you might say Sydney was spoiled for Choys), each with a distinct theme. The rustic theme of 1000 A.D. was ancient China, with large wooden tables and benches replacing the traditional restaurant setup. Choys 1000 A.D. seems to have closed sometime after 1996, and today only Choys Randwick remains of the Choy Chinese restaurant dynasty. Even its reputation appears to have declined in recent years, but it says a lot about the well-regarded 1000 A.D. that it took three businesses to replace it: MH BBQ Restaurant, the Hay Street Dental Care above that, and a massage parlour above that. You’d probably have a memorable date night taking them all on in a sort of Game of Death-style tower challenge. I’m not sure what became of the man himself, all I could find was this. For his sake, I really hope he isn’t that kind of architect.
Before the M5 sapped the area of its thoroughfare traffic, Beverly Hills was once a cutthroat restaurant circuit. Culinary competition was fierce, with even the road’s primary supermarket eventually converted into yet another restaurant. The strip along King Georges Road is still home to a surprisingly wide variety of cuisines for south-west Sydney, but the glory days are certainly behind it.
Chinese restaurants are well represented on the strip, so it’s no surprise to see a corpse of a fallen rival rotting on the sidelines. The Four Seasons Chinese Restaurant, on the corner of King Georges and Stoney Creek roads, has the distinction of having maintained its chintzy Oriental decor even through its time as a “GL S FOOL INSU ION Wholesal” establishment.
The facade is in surprisingly good condition, but the restaurant itself is empty. The signage is pretty tattered, none moreso than the light-up sign above the shopfront.
The nearby footbridge acts as a Texas School Book Depository with which we can solve this mystery:
Despite the restaurant’s outwardly ramshackle appearance, we can at least take comfort in the fact the building must be well insulated.
In a development only I could care about, the owners have apparently torn down the rinky-dink Oriental decoration, revealing more of this shop’s history. Behold:
Big John. That’s the big reveal. Once upon a time, Big John either owned or operated out of this place, and the only way they could hide his involvement (and why should they want to do that, hmm?) was by covering him up. But now he’s back, and the secret is out. If you ARE Big John, get in touch.