22/05/2007 - 22:00

Jung has plans for West Perth icon

22/05/2007 - 22:00

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After nearly two decades trading as Chianti on Colin’s, the popular West-Perth eatery is set for a name change and major overhaul as its owner, Leon Jung, looks to reinvigorate the restaurant.

Jung has plans for West Perth icon

After nearly two decades trading as Chianti on Colin’s, the popular West-Perth eatery is set for a name change and major overhaul as its owner, Leon Jung, looks to reinvigorate the restaurant.

Mr Jung says while any major changes are unlikely to occur until next year, he has been keen for several years to change the name of his restaurant to reflect its Mediterranean menu.

Chianti was established as a traditional Italian restaurant by Umberto Tinelli about 17 years ago. Mr Tinelli later sold the restaurant to Brian Greenwood. Mr Jung bought the restaurant from former car dealer Rod Ferguson about six years ago.

Mr Jung, who has worked for major hotel groups across the globe, soon set about bringing fresh life and ideas to the restaurant and focused on delivering customers with a high-standard of service matched with quality food.

That focus will surely remain while the aesthetics undergo an overhaul.

“We will be totally changing the concept; I think Chianti needs a change,” Mr Jung told Gusto.

“Times have changed; we want to attract a younger crowd. Many of them only come here for special occasions.”

Mr Jung’s ideas about a major renovation crystallised when he and his wife, Erlynn, bought the freehold for Chianti on Colin’s from Giuseppe Pagliaricci, owner of Perugino Restaurant, three years ago.

 “I believed that you can make a good living in this business but that is all you are doing, making a living. That is why we invest in property,” Mr Jung says.

Redevelopment plans are yet to be submitted to the City of Perth but Mr Jung flagged to Gusto the possibility of developing apartments above the existing restaurant structure.

And, after a few decades in the game, Mr Jung is also looking at the potential to wind down his day-to-day involvement in the business, which could include bringing in a partner.

Originally from Luxembourg, Mr Jung has been working in Western Australia’s hospitality sector for more than 20 years after accepting a job as Burswood Entertainment Complex food and beverage manager when it first opened on December 30 1985.

When he bought Chianti on Colin’s, Mr Jung returned to the kitchen and recruited a team to help him provide quality food and service, and also shifted the focus away from Italian cuisine.

“I thought there were too many Italian places in the area so we totally changed the menu,” Mr Jung says.

“Unfortunately, some people expect Italian food because of Chianti in the name, but we inherited that name. I think we are now ready to move on.”

Located off Ord Street on Colin Street in West Perth, the restaurant is surrounded by dozens of mining company head offices. But while the boom has undoubtedly boosted the economy it has not necessarily created a full house for every lunch sitting.

“One of my customers told me, ‘Leon, it’s not that I don’t like your food and this place, it’s just that I have been away’. A lot of them are busy travelling now.”

But business remains strong, with increasing numbers of local residents in the area boosting the restaurant’s weekend trade.

Mr Jung says staffing shortages remains a real challenge for the business. The shortages became so severe about 18 months ago that he decided to close the restaurant for breakfasts and completely close on Sunday and Monday.

He places some of the blame for the skills shortage on the government, which he says makes it too difficult for willing offshore workers to come to WA.

“If you go to Germany, France, Switzerland there are people who are interested in coming here but they (the government) make it so tough for them to come,” Mr Jung told Gusto.

Chianti is open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner.

 

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