The pedestrianising of Chesser/French/Coromandel will probably warrant it's own CBD Development thread soon, but just plonking this article here for the moment:
the view down Chesser St towards Chesser Cellars
From The Independent Weekly
A new Adelaide
A rumour was doing the rounds a while back that Primo Caon was selling up, looking for someone to buy his landmark city restaurant Chesser Cellar so he could finally retire.
At 75, and after being a fixture in SA’s restaurant business for more than 40 years, even he thought it was time.
“I just put the feelers out to see what I would get for it,” he said this week.
Then he quickly changed his mind, because at the end of August, the Adelaide City Council decided to “pedestrianise” Chesser Street – between Grenfell and Pirie streets – along with French Street and Coromandel Place, which link together to form an H.
Work to exclude vehicle traffic from the precinct, notable for its 19th-century architecture, is due to start next July 1.
“(It) should have happened 20 years ago,” said Mr Caon, who is already making seating plans for guests to wine and dine under the Chesser Street vine pergola on warm summer afternoons and nights.
“That gives a lovely European feel that this area can really do with. That’s pretty exciting sort of stuff, it really is. So I’m sticking around.”
Mr Caon sees a comparison with the Melbourne CBD laneways, a narrow network of cafes, bars, restaurants, galleries and boutiques. “The more places there are around here, the better it is because it will be like Gouger Street.”
He and his restaurateur brother Cun – Primo and Secundo, first and second brothers – have often been the trendsetters in the Adelaide restaurant business. In 1971 they launched Charlie Browns, on Port Road at Hindmarsh, with the idea of offering fast food and a cheap glass of wine for the first time in Adelaide.
“On the opening night, not invited, Len Evans came in ... and it was great to have him there because he was the leader of the wine scene in Australia,” Mr Caon said.
“He stayed all night. Then we came back next morning to tidy things up a bit – it was a very late night, of course – and on the ceiling was, ‘Len Evans has been here’.”
Mr Caon bought Chesser Cellar in 1990. It quickly established itself as a clubby gathering place for business and government figures. And wine men – the likes of Len Evans, Max Schubert, James Halliday, Peter Fox, George Fairbrother and many others whom Mr Caon regards as good mates. “A quarter of them are dead.”
Mr Caon looks after himself better these days, well groomed, and always suave. “One or two glasses of red at the most a day, and it does help your blood pressure.”
As for his 75 years, he fended off a jibe he’d be carried out of Chesser Cellars in a pine box: “Let me tell you that Beppi Polese from Sydney, who’s 86, he’s still in the business and it’s a great credit to him ... You’ve got to be happy in what you’re doing.”
He has not closed off the possibility of one day selling up – with conditions attached.
“But with this situation occurring, let’s see where we go from there. I can see Adelaide come alive in Chesser Street under the vines.”