The secret is out. Three of Newcastle's most popular dining destinations are branching out to the suburbs.
Bao Brothers, Rascal and Popolo Artisan Gelato's new Popolo Dessert Bar will all open restaurants at Charlestown Square's new dining and cultural hub The Corner in December, alongside 4 Pines Brewing Company, Hunter Espresso cafe and Lee's Yum Cha, the region's first traditional Chinese trolley service.
The Corner is the result of a $10 million investment from owners The GPT Group. Located at the corner of Pearson and Ridley streets, it will have an indoor-outdoor alfresco feel and a focus on casual, communal all-day dining.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
"Our vision for The Corner is of a day-to-night hub with great local food, music and art," The Corner's project manager Mardi Ashkine said.
"Most of the foodies and brands we're working with are independent ventures with Newcastle roots.
"We're supporting the city's creatives and making a space for events and community."
The Corner will officially launch with four days of live music and entertainment from December 5 to 8, serving as an introduction to an ongoing cultural program operating at the site. There will also be opening weekend pop ups: Streets of Napoli woodfired pizza by Napoli Centrale Pizza Bar, and Doughheads' doughnuts.
Artists creating and exhibiting in the precinct in the first few months include Ellie Hannon, Bradley Eastman, Lucas Grogan and Brett Piva. The musical roster includes New Orleans-style jazz from the Rehab Brass Band and old-school funk, soul and reggae played from original vinyl 45 singles by resident DJ Dan Phelan and DJ Tone.
"The Corner is all about providing Newcastle with unexpected experiences; it's authentic 'ingredients' served with love, fun and energy," Rascal co-owner Ty Burford said.
"This is going to be a great fit. We're all about our original recipes, defiant flavour combinations and the unique Burger of the Week."
Popolo Dessert Bar's Alfonso Muras is also enthusiastic.
"Popolo means 'people' in Italian and, with our Italian heritage, we share Newcastle's passion for community and family," he said.
"Our Dessert Bar will be a bold mix of tradition and contemporary experimentation, mixing a range of creamy, classic gelato, vegan treats and lactose-free licks, and even gelato cocktails and alcohol-infused gelato."
As for Bao Brothers, the original street-food-inspired bao is back on the menu.
"We're psyched about opening our newest venue and can't wait to share our passion for quality Asian food served in an authentic, immersive experience," co-owner Nathan Martin said.
As for brand designer Brett Piva, whose work is well known around Newcastle, he said it was "refreshing to be part of a new precinct that seeks to promote this community spirit in an all-inclusive cultural centre".