On a recent Friday night it was a balmy evening, and heading down Koornang Road to get a pizza takeaway, I was impressed with how many people were eating out in Koornang Road. Most of the restaurants were full, and some had people waiting for tables.
Over the last ten years we’ve certainly lost the diversity of shops we did have. Some of that is down to technology. Gone are the two photo labs, and the bookshop. Even shops that came about because of technology, namely the internet cafes and gaming places, have gone now that the internet is much more available than it was. In large measure however it is due to the increase in rent, which presumably only make certain types of businesses viable. In the last decade we’ve lost the pet shop, shoe shop, the toy shop, a menswear shop, Mean Jeans moved to Hampton (after what must have been the longest closing down sale in the history of the street), the furniture place and watchmaker near the train line (although the watchmaker does a Saturday morning stint at the milkbar), the health food shop and the baby shop up at Carnegie Central, and countless real estate agencies have come and gone. We are down to two butchers’ shops and had two florists, one of which closed and the other moved around the corner into Neerim Road and is shortly to close. I’ve heard that rents for a shop in Koornang Road can be upwards of $1,000 a week. Being so close to Chadstone would also make it harder for clothes shops as well. Sometimes a shop opens and you think how will it last; and it doesn’t. Best example of that was the place selling pianos and art.
What have thrived over the last 10 years are cafes and restaurants – in the case of Paradai Thai there are now two of them! Sure there have been some changes. Cafe Armenia, Cafe 101, and Eva’s closed, as did the third fish and chip shop (the one that advertised deep fried mars bars in the window – ‘hot and sweet’), but all were replaced with restaurants or cafes. The same goes for the Russian restaurant V & V, although you can still see its neon sign on top of the verandah.
It is 500 metres from where the Neerim Road intersection up to Dandenong Road. Over that distance, although to be honest a little more given the places on the south side of Neerim Road, there are 35 restaurants and takeaways (for the purpose of my count, I have only included places where you can get something to eat for dinner – so I haven’t counted cafes, unless open regularly for dinner):
West side from Dandenong Road to Neerim Road:
7 & 7 Korean
Spicy Dragon (Indian and Chinese)
Silk Road (Korean and Chinese fusion – with the unfortunate misspelling on their signage -‘restaurunt’)
Liu’s kitchen (North Chinese)
King Fish fish and chips
Ocean Pizzetta (down the laneway)
Kuala Lumpur (Malaysian and Chinese)
Kim Chi Grandma (Korean)
East Side from Dandenong Road to just over Neerim Road
Yunxi Happy Pot
Sizzler Ji (Pakistani and Indian)
Goga Soondae (Korean)
Sea Splash fish and chips
Eastern Dumpling House
Ramen and Dumpling House
Green Terrace (Korean)
Carnegie Charcoal Chicken
Lee’s kitchen (dumplings and noodles)