25/09/2007 - 22:00

Tarting up a Jolimont icon

25/09/2007 - 22:00

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If it wasn’t for a photo kept by Tasty Tarts owner Radi Stulic it would be hard to imagine that her gourmet sandwich and sweet treats store was once a blue-collar type lunch bar serving up deep fried foods like cheese sausages and chips.

Tarting up a Jolimont icon

If it wasn’t for a photo kept by Tasty Tarts owner Radi Stulic it would be hard to imagine that her gourmet sandwich and sweet treats store was once a blue-collar type lunch bar serving up deep fried foods like cheese sausages and chips.

The closest thing Tasty Tarts has to greasy spoon produce is sausage rolls, although even these are made on-site and are bigger and fuller in flavour than those from commercial kitchens.

It has been a little more than 18 months since Ms Stulic bought the former lunch bar, near the corner of Hay and Jersey streets in Jolimont.

The business has become a regular lunch spot for many local business workers and nearby residents.

Ms Stulic’s reputation for creating fine food has also made it into the boardrooms, with Tasty Tarts frequently used by the likes of Western Power, BankWest and RugbyWA for functions and events.

And the growth of the business doesn’t end there.

Ms Stulic recently struck a deal to sell a range of prepared take-home meals to a fresh food grocer.

While her meals will not be branded under the Tasty Tarts label, they will have all the hallmarks of her food from the Jolimont cafe – fresh, tasty and wholesome.

Ms Stulic’s passion for food is made obvious by the range of gourmet sandwiches, complete with mayonnaise made on the premises.

Cast an eye over the friands, muffins, and triple-chocolate raspberry brownines and it is clear that Ms Stulic doesn’t play favourites with food groups – whatever tastes great makes its way to the counter.

Her food is also served with good humour, with her 20 years in retail providing Ms Stulic with veteran customer service skills.

Her burgers are described as being “as big as your head”, while the sandwiches are tagged “sublime” and the baguettes are “bodacious”.

The sandwiches, wraps and other lunch fare include spreads mainly made on the premises, including Tasty Tarts’ caramelised onion jam, tomato and beetroot relish and oven roasted red pepper. They even roast their own beef.

The business is the realisation of a long-held dream for Ms Stulic, who registered the name Tasty Tarts several years ago while working in fashion retail.

At the time she was doing catering jobs for friends in her spare time, but soon discovered she had a real passion for creative cooking.

The catering business continued to grow and Ms Stulic decided to bite the bullet in January last year by buying the former deli, finally owning and managing her own food business.

Ms Stulic says she picked the lunch bar on Jolimont for its location, nestled between Wembley and Subiaco, and with plenty of natural sunlight filtering in.

But the change from grease to gourmet was tough to begin with, she says.

 “The first three months it was really challenging,” Ms Stulic says.

“We lost some of the customers but once people tried our food they came back.

“It was really hard but you just have to stick to your guns.”

Ms Stulic is rather chuffed that some of the blokes who used to buy cheese sausages now fax in orders for a toasted wrap with grilled veggies and Danish fetta.

Getting the right suppliers was also a challenge but Ms Stulic persisted to secure the quality produce she was seeking.

“Our meat supplier is [Dardanup butcher] DBC and they have a minimum order of $100, and for us in the early days that was really difficult to do,” Ms Stulic says. “I rang them and asked if they would be part of my growth, and they agreed. Now we have no trouble filling a $100 order.”

The customers have been part of the journey, with Ms Stulic knowing what her regulars are likely going to choose before they even open their mouths.

She knows most of her customers by name and often starts putting their favourite sandwich in a bag before the customer has made it to the counter.

“I like to be quite different and try new things, but people often don’t like change,” Ms Stulic says.

“The majority of our customers will have the same thing every day.”

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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