A big punt pays off

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Albany Highway -

AL­BANY High­way in Vic­to­ria Park is one of sub­ur­ban Perth’s go-to restau­rants and en­ter­tain­ment hubs and con­tin­ues to grow in pop­u­lar­ity as peo­ple are drawn by its can­vas of pub­lic mu­rals, pop-up eater­ies, mu­si­cal draw­cards and com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties.

But it wasn’t al­ways like this. The vi­sion of one woman is largely re­spon­si­ble for the once stark car­yard-laden high­way’s change of per­son­al­ity that be­gan when she boldly opened pur­pose-built Christina’s Restau­rant 20 years ago this month.

Al­ways a ho­tel owner/op­er­a­tor, Christina Hard­ing (nee Sala­m­one) was left a widow with two small chil­dren af­ter her hus­band John died sud­denly, and know­ing she needed a way to earn a liv­ing that would fit with her changed life cir­cum­stances, the mod­ern Ital­ian restau­rant was born.

“I saw the op­por­tu­nity and took a punt,” Ms Hard­ing said.

“I asked, why are peo­ple cross­ing over the Cause­way to go to a restau­rant when they could just walk up the strip?”

She bought the old Sal­va­tion Army site and built the restau­rant, start­ing with about 30 staff and steadily grow­ing a clien­tele that still re­turn today for birthdays, en­gage­ments and mar­riages of their own chil­dren.

The for­mer North­bridge girl has lived in Vic­to­ria Park for many years and would never go any­where else.

“I am very pas­sion­ate about the area and the restau­rant and the cus­tomers. I still work hard there ev­ery day be­cause we open seven days. I only do the morn­ings now but my daugh­ter helps out,” the 60year-old said.

Pic­ture: David Baylis

Christina Hard­ing with cus­tomers Chloe and Ben Stan­ley with Nikita Steven­son and Diana Steven­son who have been com­ing since she opened in 1994.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.