Fed Square’s Hero restaurant closes as ACMI ditches HospitalityM as caterering partner

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The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) has ended its contract with HospitalityM, which operated Hero restaurant and the venue’s catering operations, over “significant unpaid debt.”

HospitalityM is run by chef Karen Martini and her business partner Michael Gebran, with the Federation Square restaurant having the back luck to open just one day before Melbourne went into a prolonged period of lockdowns.

Since re-opening the restaurant and wider Fed Square precinct have been struggling to regain pre-pandemic levels of visitation.

“Hero and its associated events management services, operated under licence by Michael Gebran of HospitalityM, together with Karen Martini, will be closing its doors today at ACMI,” an ACMI spokesperson said on Monday.

“Since opening in November 2020, Hero has been acknowledged for setting new dining standards at Australian cultural institutions by showcasing Karen Martini’s European-focused, seasonally driven approach to uncomplicated cooking.

“The restaurant quickly became a much-loved fixture of Melbourne’s dining scene and attracted widespread acclaim from both patrons and industry.

“ACMI would like to thank Michael, Karen and the wider Hero team for their delivery of exceptional dining experiences in the face of ongoing challenges to the hospitality industry since 2020.”

 

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The abrupt end of the contract came as a surprise to HospitalityM, with reports the 70-plus team were given just six hours to leave the site.

“We are devastated by the lack of support,” Martini told The Herald Sun.

“It is such a loss for Federation Square and the city. This part of the city is struggling.

“In this climate, it is hard to believe that ACMI couldn’t match our passion and enthusiasm for good things.”

Gebran said the exit was not as amicable as ACMI presented with HospitalityM considering its options.

“To our staff, to our families, to our friends, to my business partner Karen, to our customers, we thank you so much for everything that you’ve done and the support you’ve given us,” he said.

ACMI said it would announce a new food and drink venue soon.