Images: Rupert on Rupert
Tucked away in the backstreets of Collingwood, Melbourne, is Rupert on Rupert – a warehouse restaurant home to a veritable jungle of lush indoor plants. According to owner Ric Corinaldi, the typical response from patrons is “WOW!”
“Every morning when we open the doors there they are, shiny, bright, alive and gently welcoming our staff, suppliers and guests…
having plants around us is something that myself and my family see as paramount to our health and wellbeing.”
After spending ten years working in the construction industry as a trained horticulturalist and arboriculturalist, Ric was looking for a new calling that would bring him back to the plant kingdom.
Rupert on Rupert specialises in Mediterranean fare, but Ric wanted to create a space that would be at home in any city. Fiddle Leaf Figs, Monsteras, Boston Ferns and Staghorns adorn every nook and cranny, creating a variety of spaces for any occasion.
“The large staghorn and two elk horns at the entrance are very old and the people that started growing them are long gone. Each of them has wonderful stories. I feel privileged that we have them in our space and honoured to be their caretaker for now. It’s a lovely idea to imagine them living long into the future.”
While Ric and his wife Mali brought plants from their own collections, as well as Ric’s parent’s, it wasn’t all smooth growing.
“I made some mistakes early with the trees that I regret, but we were running out of time and I needed to act. It’s an interesting lesson. Better and longer-term preparation is required to find what you need and what will thrive in the long run. We eventually got it right.”
The plants are so much a part of the character of the place, Ric feels like the plants and the space itself have their own bond.
“In many ways, Rupert has its own relationship with its plant denizens that is separate from the humans that walk around underneath. If I can speak for Rupert, I think it enjoys the companionship when the venue is closed up and quiet, dark and still. I often enjoy being in the venue during these times. There is a greater sense of something bigger than me that becomes present in the space.”
This sense of calm was part of Ric’s tree change. There are still stresses that come with being a business owner and restaurateur, but Ric has found the right way to deal with it.
“I’m happier, it also brings a tangible sense of peace to what can be a stressful job at times. Away from the venue, I can worry about the business, however the moment I come back inside and am surrounded by the plants my stress seems to drop off.”
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City venues don’t get much better than @rupertonrupert and I’m so privileged to have worked there several times. It’s a beautiful space, the staff and owners are amazing and the food is super yummy! Highly recommend. Did you know that I have a little secret page on my website with my favourite vendors, including a list of my favourite venues to work at. If you’re in the planning process and looking for the perfect venue to have your celebration DM me and I’ll send you my list.
Rupert on Rupert is open for lunch and Dinner. Our most recent Plant Life Balance event, Plant Tales presents ‘Plantasia’, was held at Rupert on Rupert.