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