Inspired by the unique pleasure of diving into a bowl of noodles, embarking on a brace of tacos or maneuvering a hot dog while perched on kindergarten-issue plastic stools, brothers and owners Stan and Aaron Crinis were determined to bring a taste of these magically humble experiences to Wollongong’s CBD. The result was Dagwood.
How to conceptualise an appropriate environment, however, was inherently challenging, as the city council may well have frowned upon swarms of diners clogging up the streets of its CBD.
The solution was to bring the street inside and create a pleasingly haphazard collection of benches, booths and nooks that would recreate the impromptu feel of less regulated cousins across Asia and Latin America. A 160-square-metre concrete shell affording 120 seats proved to be the perfect canvas for the project.
“We wanted to create enclaves or zones within the restaurant so that you would have a different experience each time depending on where you were situated, aiming to reflect the different culinary components one would experience eating in a street market or food fare” explains Mandy Edge, Director of the design studio responsible for the fit out.
Materially, the recycled brick paving and timber floor boards echo the rustic resourcefulness of street stalls and simple restaurants across the developing world, while crude elements such as steel cabinets with a burnished, antique finish to display wine are mixed with more refined surfaces such as a Carrera marble bar top and on ledges situated throughout the restaurant where patrons can lean provocatively as they munch and quaff.
Walls are covered in a variety of bright, bizarre and vintage posters, which paired with wall lights and exposed ceilings evoke gritty back-alley scenarios perfect for delicious and relaxed dining.
The net result is of a warm and cheerful space, varied enough to ensure successive visits promise the discovery of new and quirky details.
Edge Design Studio
Photography: Steve Back