Footscray’s hidden gems with Matt, Mel, John & Paul

This article is a part of Your Footscray – an initiative of the Footscray Business Reference Group supported by Regional Rail Link

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Our quest to uncover the best-kept secrets of Footscray continues. This time, we sit down with Matt & Melanie from the Reverence Hotel and John and Paul from the Footscray Markets to get their take on the hidden gems of Footscray.

What do you love about Footscray?

John: Where to start? Cannolis. The Station Hotel is award winning. Beasley’s cycles has been there since I was a kid. Coopers the jeweler. Jimmy Wongs has best dim sum in Melbourne. We’ve got beautiful restaurants.

What’s a typical “local”?

John: A larrikin, at least it used to be.

Matt: It’s such a mixed bag and that’s what’s good about Footscray.

YourFootscray_MattMelWho’s someone that’s been around for a long time & you think exemplifies all that’s good about Footscray?

John: I would have to say the O’Halloran’s because they had shoe shops in Footscray for years and years.

What’s something that people outside the area don’t know about?

Mel: Around the corner from us in a little grassed area between two busy truck roads is a replica miners cottage made from the skeletons of old mattresses from a homeless shelter. It looks awesome!

John: The statue of Ted Witten outside the Western Bulldog football club.

Paul: The annual Vietnamese festival is something to see. They close off the whole streets, and there is food, rides and people everywhere. You can hardly move around. It’s amazing and well worth checking out. And the Mona Castle. Like an old pub and without pokies.

What sets your business apart from others?

Mel: We wanted to focus on what makes a good, comfortable, laid back pub and offer something that hasn’t been offered around here: Music and Mexican food.

YourFootscray_PaulMatt: We love having 2 music performance spaces that can run as separate rooms or as one big event engulfing the whole venue. Our rooms can also have a variety of uses. One day we’ll be hosting an international band then, the next day, serving hundreds of tacos.

Paul: Our fresh fish because we look after the fish better than the others, and we look after the customers, too.

If you were a customer, what would you order?

Matt: I’d order Mel a vegan quesadilla, and me a beef burrito – and a pint of Coopers. I can’t think of many pubs in Australia where you can have vegetarians, vegans, coeliacs and carnivores all seated at the same table and all having a lot of food options!

John: King George Whiting, Barracuda, or Tasmanian salmon – which is our biggest seller now but up until only a few years ago we didn’t have salmon.

Our next interview for Your Footscray will explore Footscray on holidays!