After teasing us for two years with whispers of a CBD location, there’s finally a solid opening date for The Grounds of the City. It’s penned in to arrive the first week of June, and will reside inside The Galeries on George Street, with a 300-square-metre venue.
The Grounds of Alexandria has become one of Sydney’s most popular brunch hot spots since it opened in 2012, and this is the company’s first expansion into a CBD location.
The new venue will be a ‘nod to times past’ with an ode to 1920s hospitality, and will certainly be a distinct departure from The Grounds’ existing barnyard aesthetic. You can expect to see a shoeshine service and a roaming cake trolley.
For Ramzey Choker, co-founder and creative director behind The Grounds, this expansion has been a long time coming. “This site has been in the planning stages for two years. We’re looking back in time to the 1920s for inspiration; from the craftsmanship that went into the coffeehouses of the day.
“We believe the city lacks the life and culture it deserves. We’re here to bring beauty and amazing quality in our offering with an amazing experience, and build a community in the centre of the city,” says Choker.
The interiors will be taken care of by Acme & Co, and in fact led by Choker’s own sister Caroline, who is responsible for the designs of the original space. There will be antique theatre pendant lighting, salvaged timber floors and marble fittings as well as hand-crafted stained glass windows and custom-made enamel fridge doors. “The building took a lot of craftsmanship and is going to be really different than what you’re used to. Everything is custom made. It’s a test for us to create something different, but still part of The Grounds’ family,” says Choker.
Executive chef at The Grounds, Paul McGrath, will helm the team in an open-plan kitchen, set to feature all-day, brasserie-style food from breakfast to dinner, with takeway as an option.
A “Barista’s Bar” will involve “coffee sommeliers” to guide patrons through their own individual coffee experience. Choker says the idea was inspired by the genius bars in Apple stores. More than $100,000 has been spent on state-of-the-art coffee equipment so you know the quality of coffee will remain.
And for a real point of difference and next-level service, The Grounds have created a new members app which allows the team to get know their customers better – from where they work to their favourite coffee order. “When corporate workers come for a morning coffee we want to make their time pleasurable and really get to know them as individuals,” says Choker. “We want to give them something a bit extra.”
“We want to create a place that becomes like a city home away from the office and somewhere you want to go that is just really comfortable. It’s going to be really different, really unique and really special.”
The Grounds of the City will open in June 2017.