There has been a rise in the quality and popularity of the humble burger over the past couple of years. This new wave of burgers is taking over, and one place that consistently delivers is Grill’d – the prevalent chain restaurant specialising in healthy burgers. And now, Geelong has an extra spot to pick up one of their delicious meals with a brand new store in Geelong West.
Located in an old building off Pakington Street (previously a jewellery store) which took only 12 weeks to refurbish, the burger joint officially opened eight weeks ago by Moriac residents Stuart and Julia Menzies. This new venue is in addition to their Waurn Ponds outlet, which opened back in 2014, and is set to give Geelong endless healthy burger options for brunch, lunch or dinner.
“Grill’d always wanted to open two restaurants so this one is more of a brand restaurant. Following the success of the Waurn Ponds venue, the brand is strong enough now to have a place somewhere like on Pakington street,” Stuart says.
Located right in the heart of Pakington Street, Grill’d know a good thing when they see it with Julia saying they had been looking at the area for five years – “waiting for the perfect location to come up.” Grill’d don’t take a second best, and the couple is thrilled that their new venue is part of the “reinvigoration” of Pakington Street, adding to the 144 other eateries along the strip.
“When you think ‘Pako’, you think food. So we just feel like we are now part of the new resurgence of restaurants on the street – right in the heart of it,” Stuart says, classifying this new venue as more of a dining destination.
“People are here to sit, eat, drink, stay and enjoy their time with their friends. In that way, this is more of a dining restaurant which is really different for the franchise. Once the sun starts to shine, and it warms up a bit, it will be so much nicer and I think it will attract more of an afternoon crowd, especially on weekends.”
With what looks to be an ideal summer eating destination, the venue boasts the perfect after-work drinking experience with inclusion of icy cold beer taps (including Coopers Pale Ale) and an outdoor seating area which looks out onto the bustle of Pako Street.
With a great location, comes great food to match. Grill’d offers a range of mouth-watering fresh, flame grilled chicken breast, beef, lamb and vegetarian burgers which incorporate non-traditional quality toppings such as cranberry sauce, roasted capsicum, brie cheese and avocado – yum! There’s also a variety of sides including Zucchini chips and their famous sweet potato chips, as well as super salads and sliders if you’re feeling something different.
What’s more, the franchise has a charitable aspect, where with each purchase you’re given a token to vote for the local organisation/charity deserving of a donation through Grill’d’s ‘Local Matters’ campaign, which Stuart says is a real point of difference for the franchise.
With Julia taking charge of all the office work (including administration and human resources), Stuart is in charge of running the two restaurants and being the face of the brand, gaining more creative control than usual within the franchise partnership.
“We had a big say in keeping some of the existing heritage stuff and keeping this building as original as possible – but still adding our own touch. It was really important. Even the painting of the ‘state bank’ is still in the same gold,” Stuart says.
Alongside the original exterior, including the windows and doors, there is something slightly quirky in every part inside the restaurant. Pako’s Grill’d offers unique character with the old stairwell, ironic framed pictures, olive green seating, modern neon signs and a wooden bar set up, creating a completely different and rather compelling aesthetic.
The restaurant is located at 135A Pakington Street, Geelong West and will be open Mon-Thu from 11am-9m, Fri-Sat 11am-9.30pm and Sun 11am-9pm.
Suss out their delicious menu on their website or visit their Facebook.
Written by Talia Rinaldo