Racecourse Road Precinct Getting Back On Track

Despite the challenges brought by road closures at Kingsford Smith Drive, high rental costs, and the Covid-19 pandemic, the Racecourse Road Precinct in Ascot is back on track, with many small shops now thriving in the area.

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Back in 2019, many businesses already vacated their spaces at Racecourse Road precinct, mainly because of the high rental costs. Besides the expensive lease, the upgrades at Kingsford Smith Drive, which took five years, also had an impact on businesses in the area, with most businesses noticing that their patrons stopped coming due to the road work disruptions.

Most of the shops lost their customers, especially when the Kingsford Smith Drive project started. One owner of a news and magazine shop revealed the business dropped to 40 percent following the upgrades when the road works began.

Come late 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic is at its height, things became worse for traders at Racecourse Road. At the time, around a third of all shops on the retail strip already shut down. 

But as the line goes, tough times never last. Fast forward to 2022, many businesses have opened in the area and there are only five “for lease” signs at the strip.

Photo credit: Google Street View

There are a number of newly opened restaurants and bars in the area, including three new Japanese sushi bars, three Thai restaurants, gourmet burgers at Grill’d, and three pizza places.

One of the significant projects coming to the area is a $70 million development from Silverstone Developments, consisting of a mix of retail and medical spaces. As of writing, construction for the mixed-use building, which will have four storeys, is well underway.

Photo credit: PDT Architects

The project is expected to bring lots of new opportunities for businesses wanting to dominate the catchment.

Meanwhile, Brisbane City Council is also providing hands-on support in 2022-2023 to assist the Racecourse Road precinct as part of the Growing Precincts Together program.

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This will involve business/vacancy assessments, a survey to gather feedback and ideas about the precinct, a precinct information session, precinct Coffee Connect catch-ups, hands-on support from Council about promoting, activating, supporting and refreshing the precinct, and regular e-newsletter updates to businesses.

These New Racecourse Rd Restaurants Will Make You Want To Eat Your Veggies

Two new vegan restaurants are about to breathe new life into the Racecourse Rd Precinct, with their healthy menu offerings and cosy spaces that will make you want to eat your veggies and come back for more.

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Pancha on Racecourse Rd

Pancha Cafe vegan dining
Photo credit: Pancha Cafe/Facebook

Pancha, a vegan cafe from the same folks who brought Little Digs to Fortitude Valley, just opened its doors at Racecourse Rd on 8 December 2021.

The new eatery offers delicious and organic coffee from Sacred Grounds, a perfect match to their healthy and sumptuous all-day brekkie, salad bowls, sandwiches, and smaller bites like fries and arancini.

Pancha Cafe
Photo credit: Pancha Cafe/Facebook

What’s special about Pancha is that they grow their own vegetables at their farm located in the Southern Downs. They try to make all the dishes in-house and strive to have flavours that even non-vegans can enjoy. 

Some of the food on offer include croffle, a mishmash of croissant and waffle; burger with falafel patty; Massaman curry; pancakes with grilled bananas, maple syrup, and whipped vegan butter; and raw green caesar salad. 

Pancha is open for all-day breakfast and lunch from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Mondays through Sundays.


Dicki's Vegan Dining
Photo credit: Dicki’s – Vegan Dining/Facebook

Meanwhile, Justine Khoury, owner of Dicki’s at New Farm, is preparing to open a second location on the former venue of Meltz Pizza, on the corner of Racecourse and Lancaster Rd.

The entire space will be given a revamp with the addition of banquettes, hanging and potted greenery, and brass details. Dicki’s interiors will have an industrial feel to it, with the heightened ceilings and concrete floors, with guests being able to enjoy the view of Eagle Farm Racecourse whilst dining.

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The Ascot kitchen will be bigger than the one in New Farm, with the owner even planning to make their cakes and sweet treats from the new location and supply the other venue. The menu, however, will feature the same favourites. Customers can expect all their vegan favourites on offer, from the famous breakfast burrito to their ‘beef’ burger and ‘chicken’ tacos.

Dicki's New Farm
Dicki’s in New Farm (Photo credit: Dicki’s – Vegan Dining/Facebook)

Dicki’s Ascot, which is slated for a late 2021 opening, will have a liquor licence and will introduce local and international beers, cocktails, and sustainable wines. For non-drinkers, the vegan cafe will be offering healthier versions of their beloved smoothies. To stay updated about their opening, follow Dicki’s Ascot on Facebook.