When it opened to the masses in 2015, Welcome to Thornbury revolutionised Melbourne’s street-food scene, converting a car manufacturing factory into the second-largest beer garden in the city and Melbourne’s only permanent food-truck stop. Now its founder, the 100 Burgers Group, has replicated its winning concept with Welcome to Bowen Hills – a permanent hub offering a microcosm of Brisbane’s varied street-food scene where the best and tastiest morsels are on show. The Brisbane variation taps into the history of the Ekka, forming part of the significant overhaul of the Brisbane Showgrounds. A laneway next to the Royal Snack Bar boasts a central beer garden area – with food trucks situated at either end – adorned with signage advertising hot food, cold drinks and good times. A former cattle shed opposite the snack bar has been converted to house the sizeable bar portion, its interior space decked out with cushy leather booths and stylish seating aplenty, with an interior food kiosk for marquee food vendors sitting within arm’s reach. Welcome to Bowen Hills is not shy when it comes to acknowledging its festive past, with a heady dose of nostalgia reminiscent of the Ekka imbued in the aesthetic and drinkable offering at the Milk Bar. For a closer look at the venue, check out our gallery in The Street Photographer.
The food and drink
A street-food hub is nothing without some quality vendors, right? Welcome to Bowen Hills has done its due diligence recruiting a veritable all-star list of Brisbane’s wonderful food wagons, curating an ever-changing assembly of three to five vendors to choose from daily. Food truck royalty King of the Wings and cronut dispensary Bruce the Food Truck have been announced as marquee vendors in residence for the first six weeks of operation, popping up Wednesday to Sunday to dish out serves of their finger-lickin’ fried chicken and desserts, respectively. Alongside King of the Wings will be an assortment of mobile munchies from Mr Burger, KOMA Sliders, Abbiocco Food Truck, Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers, Fuel by Salt Meats Cheese, Pizzantica, Brat Haus, Rolling Stone Mobile Woodfired Pizza, Fiery Deli, Mussel Brothers and many, many more. In addition to the food-truck assembly, the amply stocked main bar boasts 68 taps serving 17 beers, ciders and ginger, including an unpasteurised brewery-fresh Carlton Draught to pair with your meal of choice. The Milk Bar will be bringing the nostalgia to your tastebuds with a selection of Ekka classics such as strawberry sundaes and root-beer floats.
The coming weeks will see the arrival of killer new gin bar and distillery Swill in the old Sugar Pavilion, which will be the spot for sophisticated sipping slightly removed from the central hub. Welcome to Bowen Hills will also be hosting special one-off foodie events, as well as weekly trivia nights, lunch specials and even yoga.
Welcome to Bowen Hills is now up and running, open from Wednesday to Sunday each week. Hit the website to see what vendors will be setting up shop from day to day, or check out the Stumble Guide for more information.