K&G goes back to the future

Past and present came together in an unexpected but ultimately comforting way at King & Godfree recently. K&G, a licensed grocery store operating since 1884, has been owned and operated by the Valmorbida family since 1955. In 2018, Carlo Valmorbida’s grandsons, Jamie Valmorbida and Luca Sbardella, transformed the landmark Lygon Street store into an Italian food and wine precinct, complete with a shiny new espresso bar, deli, wine bar, cellar and rooftop bar. And then COVID-19 arrived to spoil the party.

K&G responded by channelling the 1950s and went back to its grocery store roots. It’s been like old times. Tables and chairs were moved out and stacks of tinned tomatoes, pasta, olive oil, tinned tuna and, yes, toilet paper were moved in. There was fresh produce, milk and eggs and bottles of wine to help ease the ISO pain. The legendary deli became not just the source of great meats, cheeses and antipasto, but a place to pick up take-home meals prepared by K&G’s executive chef.

But they didn’t leave it there.

Almost overnight, K&G also morphed into a grocery delivery service, providing online ordering and next-day delivery to nearly 100 suburbs across Melbourne.

KDPO was along for the ride, spreading the word, not just about groceries and wine and deliveries, but also about the 20 per cent discount K&G was offering to the frontline healthcare workers doing the hard yards to keep the virus in its place. We had some great coverage too. The Herald Sun ran a piece about us that included Blues young gun Jack Silvagni, Michael Bleby wrote an exclusive for the Australian Financial Review and there was a feature article in Broadsheet Melbourne. Going back to the future makes for a good story.