Chris Lucas to expand empire, signs lease on historic Melbourne site

Becco. Image source: Google Maps

Melbourne restaurant magnate Chris Lucas has revealed he will take over the lease at the site of historic Melbourne restaurant Becco in 2021.

"I have signed a long-term lease for the site currently known as Becco at 11-25 Crossley Street, which will take effect in 2021," Lucas said in a statement. "I'd like to state that we must respect the fact that the site is currently leased to Simon [Hartley], who has successfully run Becco for almost 20 years and has made it one of Melbourne's most admired and respected restaurants."

Hartley will be moving Becco to a new home when his lease expires in two years.

The site of the Italian stalwart on a narrow laneway at the top end of Melbourne’s CBD sits between Teague Ezard’s Gingerboy and iconic espresso bar Pellegrini’s. It is known for its white-tablecloth service and classic Italian fare, with dishes like veal saltimbocca, cavatelli pasta with osso bucco ragu, and beef carpaccio.

Lucas’s new venture is another on his to-do-list of venues that he will open in the coming years.

On top of his six Melbourne restaurants, including Chin Chin and Kisume (plus Chin Chin in Sydney), Lucas is due to open French restaurant and bar Batard at nearby 19-21 and 23 Bourke Street next year, as well as reopen closed Sydney fine-diner Sepia at the upcoming 80 Collins development later.