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New events to make Chesser Street sizzle

Eat | Drink | Explore

A trio of Adelaide businesspeople is seeking to reinvigorate Chesser Street and turn it into a new city food and entertainment hub that will host a series of events – starting with a celebration of local sausage, bourbon and barrel-aged cocktails.

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Max Mason, owner of Chesser Street’s new restaurant and bar The Henry Austin, is collaborating with David Porcaro and Tash Weggery, the people behind Nutella Palooza, to run what would be the first events since The Chesser Cellar’s renowned street picnics.

Together they have formed Chesser Street Events, and plan to run themed and ticketed food festivals every three or four months to showcase South Australia’s food, drink and music talent in a party setting. The aim is to turn the street into “the Adelaide CBD’s new hub of food, culture, entertainment and fun”.

“We want to bring the street back to life,” says Mason.

“Primo Caon (restaurateur at The Chesser Cellar for more than 20 years) held summer street picnics under the vines during the 1990s – we have an old menu from one of the early ones that we would like to resurrect in its entirety for one of the Chesser Street Events.”

He says while the popular laneways of Leigh Street and Peel Street are “unbearable on a hot day”, it is a different story in Chesser Street.

“In the summertime in Chesser Street, the light is stunning and the temperature is great – we are re-growing the vines to create a laneway that is suitable for events.”

Although it is still awaiting the green light from the Adelaide City Council, which is currently consulting with the residents of the Chesser Street surrounds, Chesser Street Events has already begun working towards its first event – “Wurst of Adelaide”, a festival of “bangers and bourbon” planned for September 24 and 25.


The Henry Austin restaurateur Max Mason. Photo: Tony Lewis

Before opening The Henry Austin, Mason owned Big Bang restaurant in the UK.

“Big Bang was the inspiration for The Wurst of Adelaide,” he says.

“Big Bang was a sausage restaurant which specialised in around 48 different types of sausages – we had goat curry, pork and spiced apple, guinea fowl and wild garlic, Thai vegetable curry, wild boar and chicory, basil and vine tomato, and even a full English breakfast sausage with bacon, fried egg, baked bean and black pudding – it was the busiest restaurant in Oxford.”

The group is planning to close off Chesser Street and set it up with picnic tables and chairs for the event, which it hopes will attract around 1200 people.

It will have a range of SA sausage producers involved, and hopes new artisan producers will emerge for the event.

“I’m pursuing the guys from Low & Slow [American BBQ], and Two-Bit Villains have confirmed they will be producing eight different vegetarian sausage varieties for the event,” Mason says.

Wine suppliers to The Henry Austin cellar will have their wines on pour, Prancing Pony beers will be on tap, and Steve The Bartender will be running a bourbon bar with some barrel-aged cocktails.

“We’re looking at some barrels of Old Fashioned [cocktail] made with whisky, sugar and bitters, and a Boulevardier, which is like a bourbon-based Negroni using Adelaide Hills [Applewood Distillery] Red Okar and a vermouth from Victoria,” says Steve.

“Barrel ageing is a technique to alter the flavour profile of a cocktail or drink; some people use old port barrels but for this event we’re using new American oak barrels that have been charred on the inside.”

Chesser Street Events says the City Council’s survey of residents closes on Friday, after which it will be advised of the results.

Tickets and more information about The Wurst of Adelaide can be found here.


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