Opening a small bar on Adelaide’s suburban fringe was the dream of Troy Dawson.
After a career working in some of the world’s biggest hotels and hospitality venues, Troy, opened Zaks Tapas Bar on Rundle Street, Kent Town, in December last year.
The tapas bar, which he began with business partner and chef, Ranga Thailakrathna, serves up dishes inspired from “all over the world”.
“We try to include a lot of variety in our menu and with times being a bit tough, we wanted to give value back to the customer,” Troy said.
“We also have a small but very decent wine list which I’ve created and a strong cocktail menu, which is my specialty.”
Zaks Tapas Bar is one of the many new businesses in this year’s Eastside Business Awards.
Elsewhere in the Council area, Thomas Rischmueller opened his startup, Baby Boosters, in Glynde, at the start of this year. Baby Boosters is another nominee in the Awards.
From a commercial kitchen, Thomas prepares food for babies that contain no added sugar, salt or honey.
“Being new parents, we found there was nothing good for babies to snack on,” Thomas said
“We did some research and we found that a lot of baby food on the market was closer to junk food, and we wanted to change that.”
Thomas, who previously worked as a fitter and turner on an oil and gas site in Queensland, says sales have been strong.
He’s been selling his ‘wonder wheels’ – a donut-shaped protein snack – on his website and through several cafes, including Totally Vegan by Charlie at Glynde.
Mayor Robert Bria said new businesses such as Zaks Tapas Bar and Baby Boosters were absolutely vital elements of the economic and social fabric of Adelaide’s East.
“The Council area already has a strong reputation for its high end appeal and eclectic range of businesses and traders, including those in the backstreets near the major centres.
“The addition of diverse new start-ups is great for our local economy and very much welcomed and appreciated.
“The Eastside Business Awards is a fantastic way for new businesses to showcase their products to residents, workers and visitors to the City.”
The Awards, hosted this year by Solstice Media, the publisher of InDaily, involve the public voting for their favourite businesses and traders within the area.
Alongside celebrating emerging businesses, other Award categories include best coffee, best pub or bar, best customer experience and best entertainment venue.
Winning businesses receive $1,000 in advertising to be spent with Solstice Media and a choice of business advisory service (business planning, budget and forecasting or bookkeeping training) to the value of $1,000 with BIAS, while voters can win a $250 voucher for a business of their choice in the City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters.
Both Thomas and Troy – who are very grateful to be part of the Awards – said they were also pleased with the strong sales at their respective businesses.
Troy, who moved to Adelaide in 2017 from London, said the community-based attitude among businesses in Adelaide has been a refreshing change to what he experienced in the UK.
“I have realised ever since my move that it’s all about community. The community really support each other here,” Troy said.
Voting runs until March 18. Finalists will be named on March 31, with winners announced online on April 14.