Melbourne’s Becco restaurant site served up

Chris Lucas is set to take over the Melbourne site in 2021.

In a shrewd behind-the-scenes play for one of Melbourne’s most coveted restaurant sites, entrepreneur Chris Lucas has secured the building currently occupied by Italian stayer Becco.

He will take over the Crossley Street restaurant site, remembered by many as Pellegrini’s tavola freddo cantina, in 2021.

Plans for Becco beyond the end of its lease, are unknown. It opened in 1996; its lease will not be renewed.

Lucas, whose group is behind a slew of existing restaurants in Melbourne and Sydney with two major projects due to launch next year (Batard, in Bourke Street, and 80 Collins Street) described the modernist CBD laneway site as “one of the most coveted restaurant sites in Australia.”

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“I met the late owner years ago and told him that if the lease ever came up, or he wanted to sell, I’d be interested,” Lucas says. “His son now manages the property and he came to me with a proposal, and it developed from there.

“He said the current lease would expire in 2021 and that he was interested in exploring alternatives.”

Lucas said it was unlikely the Crossley St restaurant would remain Italian, but has no firm ideas about what he’ll do there.

“To be honest, next year is going to be absolutely huge for our company with Collins Street opening in April and Batard around September. They are both big projects in their own right. We can start thinking about Crossley Street later next year.”

Becco manager Simon Hartley declined to comment.

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