When work and play go hand in hand in the city

People of Adelaide At Work


Posted on 13 Jan 2020

Alex and Tin, the duo behind city retail success story, Vietnamese Laundry, have been calling Sturt Street in Adelaide’s south-west pocket, home for over six years now. Instead of moving house to be closer to work, the entrepreneurial pair decided to create a business of their very own – a stone’s throw away from home – a city cottage where Alex used his ‘chippy’ skills to fix up the kitchen and bathroom.

Sturt street cottages

As their first foray into owning a business, Alex and Tin opened the doors of Vietnamese Laundry at 152 Sturt Street in 2014 to an overwhelming reception. The name of the popular banh mi haven draws inspiration from the building’s past life as a laundromat. One of the first hospitality spots to open in the now rapidly growing area, Alex and Tin took a “no guts, no glory” approach to the project – a mantra emblazoned on their staff t-shirts.

Vietnamese laundry food

“We just went for it with no promotion, and next minute there was a line-up down the street."
Alex, co-owner, Vietnamese Laundry/Hotel Longtime

Now, Vietnamese Laundry has spread its wings and delicious wares to Da Costa Arcade off Grenfell Street. Featuring a monochromatic tile frontage with bursts of bright fluros, the new destination is the perfect pit stop for an express lunch pick up.

Vietnamese laundry da costa arcade

The new Vietnamese Laundry shopfront joins Hotel Longtime on Grote Street, which Alex and Tin added to their collection of eateries in early 2018. The Asian-fusion gastropub is a treat for all the senses, with each room sporting its own distinct theme and personality.

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The couple’s city cottage now also has a new resident - adorable one-year old Sonny. The family have kept it hyper-local - with childcare, the original Vietnamese Laundry and home all falling within a five-minute walk. On the ease of raising a child in the city, Alex laughed and said, “once all our friends knew we were having a child, they were like you’ll have to move out of the city. Nah, we’ll be fine.”

Alex and Tin do their fair share of cooking and feeding the masses through Vietnamese Laundry and Hotel Long Time, so feeding the fam entails making the most of the delicious inner-city surrounds. Mornings are spent at Paddy’s Lantern on Gilbert Street where Sonny is considered a baby-cino connoisseur, and lunch is sorted at Chinatown Café. Sonny’s a baby about town, with Alex and Tin keen for him to be exposed to a breadth of experiences.

Alex sonny paddys lantern

“He’s not shy at all. He's out and about every day. He has coffee with us every morning at the café. He knows and interacts with people everywhere he goes,” said Tin.

Sonny probably has seen more of the city than most, with daily strolls through the streets. Alex and Sonny start off down Gilbert Street before wandering down Rundle Street to Rundle Mall, finishing off through the Adelaide Central Market.

Alex tin sonny city living

It’s also the small rituals which have seen Alex and Tin form connections and friendships all around the city. Within weeks of moving here, Alex and Tin felt like they knew people from everywhere.

“Lots of locals are probably on foot more and you see people, you recognize people more and it seems natural to reach out or form those connections,” said Alex.

Article by

Vivien Nguyen

Vivien Nguyen