Melbourne is known for its fabulous restaurants and their mix of international cuisines. So it must be pretty great to own not one, but three of those restaurants. Well, that’s exactly what the Sedgley brothers do for a living, owning the Spanish restaurants Barca and Lona Pintxos Bar in Armadale and Lona Pintxos Bar in St Kilda. They have also recently expanded by creating a wine and craft beer label called Sedgley And Sons, named after their ancestor’s butcher shop in Gawler, South Australia. Milk Bar Mag had the chance to talk to Charles Sedgley about his family’s success and their love for food.
It seems most of your family works in the food industry, with you and your brother Edward running the restaurants, your aunty’s Locheilan Farmhouse in Shepparton, and your father’s orchard business in Metung. How many generations in your family have your relatives been working with food for?
It started with my grandpa, who is still alive, he’s 98. When Sedgley And Sons started, the reason it came about happened 8 years ago. I saw a photo of an ancestor in Gawler in Adelaide in the late 1800s, and in the background, you can vaguely see a sign reading Sedgley and Sons. As for me, I’m a butcher by trade, and left school at an early age. We had some friends with good quality pinot who assisted us. We started labeling our own Tasmanian pinot.
What’s it like to manage three restaurants? I imagine it would be hard work and time consuming.
You’ve got to try, especially at night on busy nights. I’ll be in St Kilda and float around to the other two and come back.
What is your interest in Spanish food, as opposed to food from other cultures?
I lived in Barcelona for two years 10 years ago. I came back with a flair for that food and fell in love with it. Then I opened Barca eight years ago. Then I opened Lona two years ago. Then we opened the St Kilda restaurant eight months ago. We’re definitely Spanish influenced, as we start to expand and evolve. I’d like to give the chefs a broad spectrum of European cruisines.
How does Spanish food in Spain compare to Spanish food in Australia?
We’ve got quite a few high quality Spanish restaurants who do keep up to date with what’s going on in Spain. What we have adapted to is that we take something Spanish and we try to slightly alter it to please. We put an Australian twist on Spanish dishes.
What is your personal favourite meal to eat at any of your restaurants?
That’s a big question. My favourite would be pork sliders with jalapenos and crackly. Being a butcher by trade, I like Flinders Island crass. That would be for Lona, and I would say at Barca I like the paella.
What made you guys decide to expand into the wine and craft beer market with your label Sedgley And Sons?
I guess we got a big wine background. I’ve worked with my brother and dad doing wine lists and tasting. Love and passion for a good wine. It came back to that photo with the family business, and we got our designers to make a label that looks like a western style writing style. We just basically to go down that road. We got a lot of love for good wine, and do our own. We recently launched a New Zealand craft beer too.
What are your business plans for the future? Thinking of opening any other restaurants?
Not at this stage. Lona in St Kilda has been our biggest project. We get 3-4 function inquiries per week, one of the biggest function places in St Kilda. We get this one knuckles down. We’ll try to do more next year.
For more info on Sedgley And Sons and their associated restaurants, check out the Lona website.
Originally published here at milkbarmag.com on Tuesday 14 July 2015