Carlton: Hot chance to buy Lygon St restaurant formerly home to Toto’s Pizza House, now Oporto
A slice of history is up for sale with the former home of Melbourne’s first pizzeria-turned Portuguese chicken restaurant seeking a new ‘crust-odian’.
Toto’s Pizza House founder Salvatore Della Bruna opened the doors of 99-101 Lygon St, Carlton, in 1961.
Mr Della Bruna brought the concept of a dedicated pizza restaurant from his childhood home of Naples, Italy, to Melbourne.
And the idea proved a hit with famous faces, including Hollywood actor Nicolas Cage, former prime minister Bob Hawke and AFL legend Warwick Capper all dining at the venue across the decades.
17 years ago, Toto’s was the second restaurant added to the International Pizza Hall of Fame following Lombardi’s in New York.
But the state’s Covid-19 lockdowns forced then-operator Zain Mazloum to close Toto’s in 2020.
The following year the site sold to the Monash Commercial Property Investment Fund managed by Mark Wizel and Lewis Tong.
Shortly afterwards, Portuguese-themed burger chain Oporto took up a 10-year lease of the premises with options to extend until 2053.
The commercial 1-zoned property is now for sale again with a $2.5m price tag.
Cushman & Wakefield and Jones Real Estate have the listing.
Jones Real Estate managing director Paul Jones said Oporto had completed a brand-new fit out at the restaurant.
“It’s an iconic freehold with Toto’s history and hospitality has been very successful from this exact shop for the past 50 years,” Mr Jones said.
He said when the site last sold at the Covid pandemic’s height, Lygon St shopfronts had a vacancy rate of about 30 per cent, which had now since shrunk to just 6 per cent.
The property is expected to achieve an annual net rental income of $140,000 plus GST and outgoings, with fixed annual increases of three per cent built into the leasing agreement.
Jones Real Estate senior executive Luke Peric said that given the high foot traffic volumes Lygon St enjoys, the restaurant was expected to attract strong investor demand.
Jones Real Estate manager Sam Guest said Lygon St “will always be one of the true representations of Victoria’s cultural fabrics with such a strong history dating back to the early years of European immigration”.
“There’s no doubt that Lygon St remains the home of the Ferrari vehicle and more particularly the rich spirit of Australia’s Italian community, it’s now just been given a taste of Portugal,” Mr Guest said.
The restaurant will be auctioned on September 28.
Meanwhile, an “ultimate man cave” in Kilsyth owned by Australian V8 Supercar identity and brewery operator Phil Munday sold last month for $2.4m.
A company dedicated to hosting safe and controlled legal drifting events for drivers, Keep It Reet, purchased the premises with plans to use it as their new head office.
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