Melburnians have been so on board with the Fancy Hanks train that the barbecue-loving team has decided to open another venue on Bourke Street. So far the new venue, due to open on September 1, appear to have the same name as the original venue, but changes are afoot for this barbecue lover's dream.
Taking the space previously occupied by Tuscan Bar and neighbouring venues including Grand Trailer Park Taverna, Mamasita and Grossi Florentino, the new Fancy Hanks – as head chef and co-owner Michael Patrick describes it – is "growing up and getting fancier". "It's a natural progression from Fancy Hanks' beginnings as a food truck and pop-up caterer, to opening our first venue at The Mercat," Patrick adds. "We're going to expand on the original barbecue menu, and our big smoker will be coming over to become the centrepiece of the new restaurant."
Fans of the juicy ribs and brisket cooked slow and long can still expect some serious barbecue, but there will be table service and the menu will feature American deli-style cold cuts and nibbles if you're having to wait for your meal to come from the pit. Patrick adds the made-to-order sides will be more "seasonal and considered", and dessert will whatever is on rotation in the dessert cabinet on the day. The as-yet-unnamed rooftop bar will have its own casual menu featuring the kinds of burgers and sandwiches that's been coming out of the Fancy Hanks food truck. It will also feature a curated wine, beer and cocktail list to fuel long summer nights overlooking Bourke Street.
The Fancy Hanks team of owners, Kent Bell, Michael Patrick, Daragh Kan and Myles Munro, have aimed for a Thursday September 1 opening if everything goes to plan. Fans of the North Melbourne original at The Mercat needn't worry, the venue will continue to pump out briskets and ribs for a while yet.
Stay tuned for more updates.