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Talking tables with Tyron Simon

Tyron Simon is New Farm’s biggest name on the restaurant scene. He shares his thoughts and vision for the area in 2022 and beyond. 

Tyron Simon is one of the biggest names on the New Farm food scene, with four restaurants and a team of more than 250 staff. 

While other venues around Australia went into hibernation during the pandemic, Tyron and his partners seized the opportunity to grow, hire more people and open new establishments for the local community to fall in love with. 

We spoke to Tyron about his passion for our distinct urban village and some hints about what’s around the corner:

“Back when I was still at school, New Farm wasn’t a desirable suburb, even though it was close to the city,” says Tyron. “But the James Street Market opening changed things. It seemed very optimistic at the time because there wasn’t anything else around but it resonated with people. Since then, New Farm and the Tenerife areas have benefited from great nearby infrastructure, which has shone a light on the area.”

From Tyron’s perspective, New Farm’s James Street precinct is such a success because it is so carefully curated. “It is a great fit on both sides of the road,” he explains, “You also have the Howard Street Wharves flanking New Farm, another optimistic development but one which has visitors questioning ‘Why don’t we live here?’”. 

Cross-cultural cuisine

Tyron’s restaurants serve flavours of multiple continents, from the Thai food at sAme sAme to Japanese delights at hôntô, then the woodfired experience at Agnes and Agnes Bakery and the Italian trattoria dishes at the recently opened Bianca

“Thailand is known as the Land of 1,000 Smiles and this is reflected in people’s personalities. I spent a lot of time here before I opened my first restaurant,” he explains. “Japanese food has very specific flavours and we broadened our market with this cuisine, then during the pandemic we opened a pop up bakery and grabbed the opportunity to launch an Italian place. We benefit greatly from having a cross-section of cuisines because it means diners can try different places while they’re staying in Brisbane.”

The appeal of Tyron’s venues also comes in the pricing. “The team and I are happy creating venues people can visit multiple times in a week,” he explains. “We offer honest pricing and good quality produce.” 

A backbone of the area

The hospitality industry suffered during the pandemic but Tyron and his team were able to retain staff. 

“The industry is going through a shortage right now because so many hospitality staff were suddenly out of work and vulnerable for the first time. A lot of senior people had to exit for a secure future, which was understandable. But now there’s a lack of experienced staff across Australia.”

During the pandemic, “We were able to keep our senior staff which was quite fortunate and we tried to spend time putting infrastructure in place so we could employ people based on personality and have good mentors in place.”

Tyron understands his role in supporting young people and the local community. “Many hospitality workers are university students,” he says, “When we were a singular restaurant it wasn’t viable but now we have a team of finance, HR and other people. If we have staff who are studying accounting and are a good cultural fit, we can work towards offering them a job in our head office and support them during the next part of their lives as well.” 

Towards 2032

The buzz is building for the 2032 Olympic Games in Brisbane. 

“We are proudly Brisbane operators,” says Tyron, “We have been so fortunate to grow in the New Farm area. This town has a sense of community and warmth you don’t find anywhere else and it strikes people when they arrive. They come up with no expectations and find a sophisticated destination. Over the last two years I have met so many amazing people from elsewhere in Australia who are choosing Brisbane as a holiday destination because of the great restaurants, great shopping and an energy and optimism which is quite contagious. It’s exciting to be part of it.” 

“You can see the new infrastructure and accessibility coming to join different parts of the city,” he adds, “We’re going to have a city which is easier to get around and more people will be able to walk to work and explore.”

As for venues, fans of Tyron’s food will need to keep an ear to the ground about new ventures in New Farm, Brisbane and Noosa. “Everything is just ideas at the moment,” he explains, “We want to make sure future growth comes from solid foundations. We’re very grateful to have 256 people put their trust in us for their work and we want to make sure future steps forward are the right ones.”   

Tyron’s top tips

While you can take your pick of Tyron’s venues for lunch and dinner in New Farm (and stay tuned for possible breakfast locations under his name), his recommendations for the best breakfasts in the area right now are Kin & Co, The Green and Scout Cafe.

I hope you enjoy the read.

Matt Lancashire