An administrator for the iconic Leigh Street eatery – a favourite of generations of politicians and business people – was appointed yesterday.
The Italian restaurant traces its history back to 1956.
Owner Tony Bailey told InDaily today the business had been placed in voluntary administration with the Australian Tax Office the major creditor and employees’ superannuation entitlements the second-largest debt owed.
He stressed that he was looking for buyers for the restaurant, which he described as “making money and … doing well” despite being placed under administration.
Bailey said the restaurant had contributed to the life, culture and times of Adelaide’s CBD over its long history and that it had left a lasting legacy.
“Rigoni’s has been an asset for the city, both from a CBD point of view but also for the culture,” he said, adding that the long-standing business also did a lot of charity work.
He said it has given customers and staff “somewhere they like going to” for decades.
Bailey said he got hugs from most of his staff when he told them the news yesterday.
“The consensus (among employees) was ‘you’ll have to kick us out kicking and screaming’,” he said.
“It’s an unfortunate situation.
“We’re looking for a buyer.”
Rigoni’s was originally established in Moonta Street Adelaide in 1956 as Rigoni’s Café.
In 1979, Rigoni’s Café was sold to the famous Adelaide restaurant family, the Caons, who moved the restaurant to Leigh Street where it was re-opened as Rigoni’s Bistro.
The sold the business in 1996 with the next decade described by the restaurant’s website as “tumultuous”, until 2006, when it was picked up by the Martin and Bailey families.
InDaily has attempted to contact administrator Michael Basedow.
A creditors’ meeting is set down for April 18.
The restaurant is in the heart of Adelaide’s thriving small bar scene which has grown up around Leigh and Peel streets.
Long before the small bar explosion, Rigoni’s was the restaurant of choice for politicians and other city powerbrokers.
In 2016, the restaurant was at the centre of political headlines when South Australia’s then Water Minister Ian Hunter stormed out of a meeting of fellow water ministers after delivering an expletive-laden rebuke.
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