Having always been an avid music lover and playing a bit of it himself back in the day, Pete Raimondo’s decision to open a blues music restaurant here in Little Malop Street was a no-brainer in his mind. Pete’s gamble has paid off, with his business giving a new edge to Geelong’s dining and music life. One of the first artists that started Pete’s love affair of blues music was Chris Wilson. From there his passion evolved and he discovered his love for blues music.
Pete travelled around America two years ago on a family vacation that turned into a research trip of great South American cuisine, and with a love already for Louisiana Creole Cajun-style cooking, Pete knew exactly what he liked and what he didn’t. The business owner likes to call his time away, a “blues and booze barbeque trip with basketball and baseball”. The restaurant owner has since travelled back to America for more research, enlisting the help of mates who live in Memphis and New Orleans to take him on a “non-touristy’ trip, showing him the places that locals eat at in order to get a taste of what real American food should be. As he says, “regardless of where you travel, you always find the best food where the locals go”.
Ideally, Pete wanted to join his two passions of food and blues music to create a sense of Beale Street, a street in Memphis where there’s copious amounts of bars and restaurants that people flock to simply to have a good time and where the music and food make the street what it is. He had envisioned Little Malop Street becoming somewhat like Beale Street amongst Dive Bar, Opium Bar, Beav’s Bar, Eureka and various restaurants where people could relax and take in the atmosphere.
Pete describes what he does as “effortless. I’m not coming to work, I’m coming to cook.” One of the secret ingredients in creating his popular gumbo (a stew-like soup including shrimp and a traditional Cajun-style smoked sausage) is playing New Orleans music to get that extra bit of oomph in the making of the recipe.
Pistol’s owner knew there was plenty of blues lovers and artists in Geelong but having a place where they could go and perform or listen to this style of music seemed to be something the city was missing. Pete knows he can’t change things for Geelong singlehandedly but said, “if I can do a little bit and that encourages someone to go ‘oh yeah, I might give something else a go in this little street’, then it’s all good.”
Pistol Pete’s menu includes not only his popular gumbo, but pulled pork dishes, burgers, submarine sandwiches and southern-style fried chicken amongst other great hearty meals and snacks for when you’re a bit peckish.
A dark blue interior with photos on one side showing his adventures of his trips and the other side showing the artists who inspire him makes you realise how personalised this business really is.
Pistol Pete’s has been getting great feedback from visitors to the venue, with people feeling that this is what Geelong needed. Pete is always looking for new artists to introduce and keep the public entertained and the atmosphere lively. He’s keen on encouraging local talent new and old and that’s where his Open Mic night on Tuesdays comes in handy. You don’t have to be a blues musician to play there either; Pete welcomes all soul, folk and roots musicians.
Pete plans on changing the menu up a bit in the future but mainly he wants to let the business grow and see what direction it heads in. “The main thing for me is to be able to consistently do good food and good music and as long as that’s happening then the rest will fall into place.”
Info: 93A Little Malop St, Geelong / ph: 03 5221 0287 / Open Tuesday to Saturday 12 to late
Written by Belinda McIntosh