By Lauren Hermon
After starting work at 2:30am everyday for the past year, Adelaide’s pastry maker Jonny Pisanelli deserves a sleep in.
Now one year since opening Pirie Street cafe Abbots and Kinney, he is able to relax – somewhat.
“I’m lucky that now I’m able to start work at about 3am,” Jonny laughs.
It’s this type of hard work that has paid off for the 28-year-old after Abbots and Kinney received the title of Best New Restaurant/cafe at The City Awards last night (June 27).
The City Awards acknowledge some of Adelaide’s best bars, cafes, restaurants and retail shops.
Jonny fondly reflects on setting up shop, but admits he’ll never really be “satisfied”.
“We have always had the same goal from when we started, but we’re also constantly trying to improve,” he says.
Learning new skills to share with his staff, Jonny will head to Taiwan to compete in a world bread and pastry competition in October.
While his business venture began in Los Angeles, his journey is a South Australian success story.
“I was overseas and was walking along a street in L.A. and came across Abbot Kinney Boulevard,” he says.
After operating with another Adelaide patisserie at farmers’ markets and pop-ups, Jonny returned home from overseas with a vision to start from scratch on his own.
And his plan was always clear.
“I wanted the cafe to appeal to all artisans; whether pastry cooks, designers or tradesmans – who all care about their craft just as much as we do,” he says.
“That’s why we had to create a fit out that, if a tradesman walked in, they’d appreciate the timber work. If a designer were to stop by, they’d appreciate the aesthetics of the shop; or if someone just enjoyed coffee, then they’d appreciate the shop for that reason.
“It’s pretty much a shop for everyone, but no one at the same time.”
Hard work has only been the half of it for Jonny, who says his loyal customers and staff have played a big role in the cafe’s success over a short period.
“Awards like these are based on voting from peers and customers, so it’s nice to be appreciated for what we do… it also helps and is very important to have staff who come in everyday and share the same vision,” he says.
And, as much as the lure of bigger cities can try to take over, Jonny says he owes it to Adelaide to stay.
“I was lucky enough to be one of the first people to do the whole food truck business in Leigh Street when there was initially no legislation for it.
“Doing that for a few years, I received a lot of support from people in the CBD who would walk pass and buy our stuff whether it was rain, hail or shine. It didn’t seem fair to use those people by saying ‘thanks very much; we’re now going to Melbourne or Sydney… it’s not going to happen.”