Why restaurateurs are flocking to Melville

12 November 2016 - 02:00
By Belinda Mountain

In recent years Melville has been reborn and the wealth of new eateries popping up have certainly contributed to the quirky Joburg suburb’s revival.

We chatted to a few restaurant owners to find out why they decided to set up shop here.

James Diack

Who is he? The owner of The Federal, Melville’s newest restaurant, which serves up 'ethical' Amercian diner fare.


Why Melville? “The Melville location means that a younger, growing group of food enthusiasts can enjoy my take on ‘farm-to-table’ dishes. Plus, there's no place like home, is there? My wife and I live in Melville, and we love it.

Throughout my childhood in the suburb, my folks regularly brought us to eat at great places in Melville, but when these restaurants were replaced by sleazy bars, the high street became a place to avoid. Yet again things have changed and good restaurateurs have begun to open in Melville again.”

Carolina Rasenti

Who is she? Co-owner of The Great Eastern Food Bar in the Bamboo Centre.

Why Melville? “The Bamboo Centre is a Melville landmark and the upstairs area has this amazing energy and killer view that I thought were never really utilised. Melville has always been known for the different and the strange: it’s where Joburg’s most adventurous people go.

“In the first year and a half, we got customers from neighbouring suburbs, but now we have people visiting from as far as Pretoria; people are being drawn back into Melville.”


Jono Kirby

Who is he? Jono is co-owner of Hell's Kitchen and La Santa Muerte, two restaurants that have been credited for breathing new life into Melville.


Why Melville? "Everyone who has lived in Joburg has a memory of Melville, and we’re looking forward to making new memories with this amazing community.

“We attribute our success to offering something different, whether it’s the big portions of hearty food grilled on the open flame at Hell’s Kitchen or the spicy Mexican offerings at La Santa Muerte. We also always try out new things, such as our own Hellfire cinnamon whisky, La Santa Tequila or The Moonshine.


This article is adapted from one originally published in one of the Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Property and Lifestyle guides. Visit Yourneighbourhood.co.za, like YourNeighbourhoodZA on Facebook and follow YourHoodZA on Twitter.