In a surprisingly short period of time the long lived Mr Juice, a scruffy juice and pho place on Smith St, has disappeared and been replaced with Prego Amico (rough translation ‘you’re welcome, friends’), a cheap and cheerful generic Italian cafe. Can this work? I’d be surprised it if did.

Italian food is somewhat out of fashion at the moment. Like the closure of many of the old cheap Indian places in Fitzroy in the past few years, there’s been a decline in Italian food. Apart from the success of pizza places like 400 Gradi in Melbourne, it’s seemingly not what people want.

Smith St is predominately Asian fusion now – Japanese, Korean, Chinese dumplings and fusion venues (such as Easy Tiger and Northern Light), although there have been a couple of departures (Lee Ho Fook moving into the CBD and Yim Yam closing). I think this is a misstep.

prego-amico farewell Mr Juice, hello Prego Amico

farewell Mr Juice, hello Prego Amico

4 thoughts on “farewell Mr Juice, hello Prego Amico

  • 2 January 2016 at 8:45 am

    I’ll miss Mr Juice’s lahksas and pho.

    I have to share your doubts about the viability of the new place. Maybe on Lygon St where you seem to get a good flow of undiscriminating interstate and foreign tourists who still think that it’s the premier restaurant precinct of Melbourne, but not here. Plus they don’t seem to have any online presence yet.

  • 2 January 2016 at 8:50 am

    Courtesy of Mr Google, from an individual’s FB page (not cited for privacy reasons):

    ‘Hi, my husband opened a cafe and restaurant two weeks ago and it called prego amico (means welcome friend) which has variety of Italian foods and other fusion dishes. He has been working as a chef since when he was 17. He worked at Sri Lanka Hilton hotel, Kuwait Sheraton hotel, and Melbourne Hilton hotel. Also, he had own his restaurant from 1998 to 2006 at Smith St Fitzroy and then he worked for some italian restaurants and booktalk in Richmond. Now he came back to Smith St again. Prego amico is on 205 Smith St Fitzroy. I know my husband has a good heart and does not much care about food cost and profits. He would like to people to enjoy his food with very resonable price. If you guys go to Smith St, drop by his place and say my name Kim, then he will give you discount. Thank you. Happy Christmas.’

    • 2 January 2016 at 10:10 am

      Not caring much about costs and profits is a brilliant way to run a business. Faceplant…

  • 26 November 2016 at 5:49 pm

    And it looks like it didn’t make it to its first year anniversary…


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