10 out of 10: Eat Street Northshore celebrates a decade of growth
8 February 2024
The maritime history of one of Australia’s busiest ports is embedded in the modern fabric of one of Brisbane’s most distinctive visitor drawcards.
Eat Street Northshore has fed, entertained and dazzled millions of people since the one-of-a-kind destination first swung open its entry gates in 2013.
Supported every bite of the way by Economic Development Queensland (EDQ), the vibrant food and entertainment precinct within Northshore Brisbane continues to grow and prosper: attracting visitors, boosting the local economy, creating jobs, setting benchmarks for sustainability and shaping the city’s identity.
Eat Street Northshore celebrated its 10th birthday in November 2023 with a weekend-long party, extending an open invitation for locals and visitors alike to enjoy live music, entertainment and a buffet of mouth-watering treats.
Today, Eat Street Northshore is a bustling feast for the senses where almost 180 repurposed shipping containers sprawl over 10,200 sqm of prime Brisbane River-front land and house 70 traders.
More than one million visitors are drawn to the thriving marketplace each year to experience the culinary delights of micro-restaurants and food vendors, five themed bars, an array of eclectic shops and live entertainment across four stages.
BACK TO THE BEGINNING
A little over a decade ago, the site was a blank canvas; the disused land was once home to the Hamilton Wharves, a key gateway to the city and a vital contributor to Queensland’s economy.
Eat Street Northshore Managing Director John Harrison recalled how initial planning for the venture centred on honouring the site’s history and replicating its economic success.
“When EDQ approached us and wanted to activate the area … we saw the site as part of Brisbane’s history, the original wharves where containers used to come in,” Mr Harrison said.
“We knew we wanted to bring back the shipping containers to rejuvenate the space.”
Eat Street Northshore launched to great fanfare and immediately cemented itself as a must-visit destination, exceeding all expectations of its founders and EDQ.
A LEGACY OF GROWTH AND PROSPERITY
Within months it had increased its operating hours from Friday and Saturday evenings to include Sundays and by 2017, it had outgrown its original site.
Holding firm to its maritime roots, Eat Street Northshore relocated a rock-toss down the river to its current site, supporting the creation of 130 FTE jobs and increasing Northshore Brisbane visitation by 89 per cent in the process.
Today, visitors can access the site from one of 1000 free car parks, including accessible parks for people with disability, or a multitude of public transport options including the convenient Northshore Hamilton ferry terminal.
Annually, Eat Street Northshore invests more than $1.2M million in entertainment, supporting up to 24 live acts every weekend.
“Eat Street is a hub of activity, it’s a mini-economy within itself. We’ve got 70 vendors, hundreds of workers and contractors all relying on making a living from this amazing place,” Mr Harrison said.
“The exciting thing is, most of our vendors have been with us since day one; they’re still here today.”
THE POWER OF PARTNERSHIP
Critical to Eat Street Northshore’s growth and success is its ongoing partnership with EDQ, Mr Harrison added.
“Without EDQ’s support and commitment to Eat Street we just wouldn’t be here today … we have worked so closely together to build this from a concept to what it is today,” he said.
“It’s been a long journey but it’s been a fun journey; we’ve collaborated on big events like Monet in Paris, Brisbane Festival and Cirque du Soleil.
“The amazing part about this partnership is that EDQ and Eat Street’s visions are so closely aligned – we’re just a perfect fit on this journey.”
Shared values including a commitment to sustainability, driving visitation, supporting business, bringing cultures together and highlighting community continue to strengthen the partnership.
A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
“Sustainability is our passion here at Eat Street. Right from the very beginning, the place was designed with that in mind,” Mr Harrison said.
“All of our shipping containers are sourced and reused from the mining industry, the timber in our furniture is repurposed from the old wharf and we also have a vertical farm where we grow produce that the vendors use in their cooking.”
Innovation has further reduced Eat Street Northshore’s eco-footprint, diverting the majority of its waste from landfill through initiatives including composting, repurposing food scraps for animal feed, Containers for Change charity partnerships and various recycling programs for cooking oil, scrap metal, cardboard, plastic buckets and bottle caps.
Even oyster shells are collected, washed, dried and sent to OzFish for use in building artificial reefs in Moreton Bay.
When asked to predict what the future holds for Eat Street Northshore, Mr Harrison’s answer is ambitious but achievable.
“Eat Street’s goal for the next five years is quite simple, we want to become Brisbane’s number one tourist attraction – it’s that easy.
“We’re so close to the city, we’ve got the Brisbane River on our doorstep and we’ve got the airport just down the road; international tourists have only got a short hop to come and visit us.
“With our beautiful, warm weather all year round, entertainment and all the flavours of international food, Eat Street has everything going for it – it’s Brisbane’s happy place!”
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