Business parks for foodies

Ten years ago, the best lunch available in a suburban business park was a dim sim from the corner store. Now, sit-down dining is fast becoming the norm.

Ten years ago, the best lunch available in a suburban business park was a dim sim from the corner store. Now, sit-down dining is fast becoming the norm.

White-collar, suburban office workers are dining in hip, architect-designed cafes whose menus seek to emulate their city counterparts.

The latest to open is the Little Collins cafe - an offshoot of the popular Brighton and Ripponlea eateries The Little Ox and Hawk and Hunter - located in the Goodman Group's Ferntree Business Park.

The cafe, with its polished-concrete floor and recycled oregon timber, was designed by Hassell architects.

Business parks on the city's fringes are home to hundreds of thousands of workers and are typically located in commercial pockets with few amenities.

It is a deficiency big property groups such as Salta, Goodman and Pellicano are fast changing in order to attract and retain large corporate tenants.

Salta's new Nexus Corporate Park in Mulgrave also features a cafe-style eatery, Elements.

John Zeccola, part-owner of Arco in Pellicano's Moorabbin Parkview Estate, was one of the first to open a full-service restaurant in a business park setting eight years ago.

Because the park was close to a residential area, the restaurant was also open two nights a week, he said. "During the day we have the business community coming in here, then at night we have the locals."

Mr Zeccola also runs a similar same-name venue in another in estate, M1 in Dandenong.

"If business parks open up now, there will be some sort of eatery in there," he said.

Next door to Arco is a gym and childcare centre that have also proved popular.

Another Italian-style restaurant, Sette Bello in the Brandon Business Park in Glen Waverley, is listed in The Age Good Food Guide.

Colliers International director Rob Joyes said there had been a "step up" in the calibre of operators opening cafes. "There is a growing business park workforce of white-collar and young workers who demand a higher quality of food."

So what's on the menu? Poached eggs, smashed avocado on toast and sweet loaf with cinnamon mascarpone at Little Collins and modern Italian at Arco.

sjohanson@fairfaxmedia.com.au