In The Spotlight: Sasha Bennett Co-Owner of Lucky Chan’s
Who is Lucky Chan? According to Lucky Chan’s Laundry & Noodle Bar he is a self-described ‘international man of mystery’.
A polyester suit-wearing mover and shaker of William Street laundries, Lucky Chan is an ‘enigma wrapped in a riddle, wrapped in a dumpling then deep-fried’. And boy, are those dumplings tasty… And so is the ramen.
Lucky Chan’s is one of the best Noodle Bars in Perth – if not (dare we say it!?), THE best. Located in the heart of Northbridge it pays homage to the history, vibrancy and culture that Asian migrants brought with them when they settled here in Perth all those years ago.
At first glance you can easily mistake it for it’s theme – a Chinese laundry – thanks to its location and mock laundromat shop front. But behind this disguise – is a noodle bar like no other.
Lucky Chan’s signature dish is the ramen and if you like it hot then the death sauce is for you. But watch out, that stuff is hot, hot, hot! Just a couple of drops will have you reaching for a cold pint of Asahi to wash it down with – or a jug of water.
To find out more about this awesome venue we interviewed Sasha Bennett, Managing Director of Cocktail Gastronomy and Co-Owner of Lucky Chan’s. Here is what she had to say.
Where did the idea for Lucky Chan’s come from and how did you get it off the ground?
We had the idea for a while, it just took some time to find the right space. Once we found 311 William Street we went up to the roof and saw the amazing view of the Perth city skyline and immediately thought we had to share it.
This awesome find lead to our crowd funding initiative to ‘fund a rooftop’. It was hard, surprising and challenging, but also highly rewarding. Now we have 692 people to thank for the Lucky Chan’s rooftop.
What challenges did you face when setting up the business?
Getting the liquor license was difficult, to say the least. It was the most arduous task and took the longest. We were ready to open 6 weeks before we were finally granted a license.
Then add renovating an old building into the mix – which always has its challenges – like walls not being straight, fixings not actually being fixed, or just general decay over time that you don’t really bank on, factor in or budget for.
How did you decide on the location for Lucky Chan’s?
We’d been looking for a second venue (the first being The Classroom in North Perth) for over a year. We were keen to get into Northbridge and had viewed a number of other sites. It was obviously meant to be because we were successful with 311 William Street.
Northbridge has really come into its own, we wanted to be a part of the ‘new Northbridge’ similar to the East Coast cities and European countries. We wanted a safe, fun entertainment district in Perth to go out to.
What inspired you to theme Lucky Chan’s the way you have?
The history of William Street and our own personal histories. All of the owners have worked in hospitality and have met people who have shaped us into who we are. Lucky Chan’s is a homage to both our mentors and the ever-changing environment of William Street and Northbridge.
What talent do your staff members bring to the business?
We honestly couldn’t be here without our fearsome Lucky’s Venue Manager Jane, she is an absolute trouper. Nothing is too big or hard. She’ll tackle anything and I think this mantra falls down through the ranks.
We’ve got an amazing, local and super talented kitchen brigade who are here in the mornings making fresh dumplings, noodles and broths so we can continue to serve ramen at 2am in the morning for our late night trade – they are absolute soldiers.
Our front of house are equally matched. No one wants to run up and down three flights of stairs every service – but they do. As well as working in a tight, busy space. They are a great bunch of people, always smiling, always having fund and we hope that energy rubs off on our guests.
We are lucky enough to have Andrew Bennett at the helm of our beverage program. Andy will be heading to San Francisco in mid-April to compete in the global cocktail competition, Bacardi Legacy. We really hope he brings it home for Western Australia. With Andy managing things you can always rely on a well stocked bar, great cocktails – and even better banter if you sit at the bar.
Describe the growth of Lucky Chan’s – how successful has it been?
We are still in our infancy. We will be turning one this month. It’s been great to see Perth develop into a lively town full of awesome food and beverage operators and we are so happy to be among such good company.
Where do you source your food and drink from?
Cocktail wise we make all the syrups from scratch. You yield the best flavour profiles when you know exactly what you are putting in there.
The same goes with our food. It is all made fresh daily. We’ve got dumplings made every day from 9am. Making our ramen broth is a lengthy process taking over 20 hours from roasting the bones to final delivery. Our noodles are freshly made each day too. We take great pride in using local produce and making all our dishes from scratch.
What are your plans for the future of Lucky Chan’s?
We are always changing up the menu to keep it fresh and different. Who knows, maybe a baby Chan?
As a group we were focusing on our current businesses at the moment. The Classroom is still a cocktail institution and small bar and we’ve recently opened our craft beer haven in Victoria Park, The Dutch Trading Company.
With all this work we hope to take a holiday soon.
Who are the owners of Lucky Chan’s?
There are 6 of us. Three couples. We’ve all been mates since the start. Having always been in the hospitality industry we wanted to create a ‘big brother’ for our first venue, The Classroom in North Perth.
It’s my husband and myself, Daniel Sterpini and Fiona Chromiak, Adam and Junko Keane. Collectively, we have all worked in hospitality for over 80 years. So I guess it’s in our blood.
Dan heads up our catering division – Cocktail Gastronomy. Fiona makes sure all our staff get paid. Andy is the brains behind the cocktail and beverage program. Adam (or AK as he’s affectionately known) is our resident DJ and I’m behind the scenes doing anything from Facebook posts, organising events to picking up stock and running errands. I’m usually doing a late night shift here and there too.
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