Inner West Whispers – 221

Portofino finito, King St celeb spotting, ZiZi’s goes Zen, Rodizio returns

• Much loved local restaurant Portofino has closed its doors. Can’t say that the proprietor was ever kind to this publication (having yelled rather loudly at us on more than one occasion) but that’s all in the past now. The restaurant has a sign in the window citing insufficient parking as one of the contributors to their closure – they should have also mentioned that their website looks like it hasn’t been updated since 2006. Many local businesses that blame external forces for their demise should perhaps look at themselves first. Staff changes at the Leichhardt Annandale Business Chamber will see retail expert Fiona Golinelli try to tackle some of the internal issues experienced by these struggling businesses.

• Spotted: Reece Mastin looking like a right hipster as he shops with friends at the Local Store on King Street, Newtown. Who is Reece Mastin, you ask? Winner of the 2011 X Factor, currently dating Home and Away siren Rhiannon Fish.

ZiZi Pancake Bar has been replaced with a Japanese casual dining restaurant. ZiZi’s was run by a lovely elderly Hungarian couple that ran other businesses on the side. Unfortunately the husband recently suffered a stroke and the pair had to abandon the business.

Café Rodizio has finally reopened on Norton Street after a huge fire swept through the premises over 6 months ago. We are not sure what took them so long, but the same owners are back behind the counters.

The Clarence Hotel has finally been bought. The once popular Comedy Store, which then became a gay venue with a giant leather lair, has now become a live music venue. Maybe Darcy Byrne’s Parramatta Road vision is becoming a reality.

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