HUNGRY JACKS is already in discussions with Fremantle council about redeveloping its Cappuccino Strip outlet after suddenly closing the doors Monday.
Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt told the Herald HJ’s parent company Selden Pty Ltd, had been in contact with the council’s planners a couple of times already, although he didn’t have any details yet.
“Certainly it’s a prime site, and you would think there’s a higher-level use for it than fast foods,” Dr Pettitt said.
“Some will see more retail leaving Fremantle, but to be honest there’s no shortage of burger joints in Fremantle, and most would be of…let’s say a higher quality.”
Dr Pettitt’s opinion was echoed by Jennifer, who was suspiciously eyeing the “closed” sign on the door when the Herald bumped into her on Monday.
“The hamburger, right, I said I wanted a grilled chicken with ham, and then they have combination of chips, right, Coke,” Jennifer said about yesterday’s lunch.
“They charge me ‘bout fucking $17, and when they give it to me it’s fucking cold – sorry, my language – it’s cold.
“No, it’s not come with the meal and I said, ‘It said meal, right?’
“I’m surprised [it’s closed] yeah, right, because they have, the way they do to me yesterday, it cost me $17 right and I said to my daughter, ‘it’s a fucking cold meal; it’s supposed to be grilled, is hot, right?’”
Dr Pettitt remembered the local outcry when Hungry Jacks first mooted a move to Fremantle 30 years ago, and says there was some justification in the argument a burger franchise would undermine the city’s idiosyncratic charm.
He said over the years the council has had to deter more fast food outlets from locating in the historic port city.
Fremantle Society president John Dowson also recalled the debate over HJ’s move to Fremantle.
“Fremantle people have always been opposed to the idea of fast food outlets in their town and were pleased when the beachside McDonalds closed, leaving just one McDonalds hovering on the very edge of the municipality on South Street.
“When it arrived a few years after the America’s Cup, there were fears that a fast food outlet in the centre of town would cause trouble, and those fears were often justified.
“Brawls were a common occurrence, though the nightclub opposite can take some of the blame.”
But aside from hipsters and heritage junkies putting their sustainable, up-cycled boot into the Whopper, there was a nostalgic outpouring on radio and social media for Freo’s HJ, with people saying it was one of the few places you could get a late-night meal in the port city.
by STEVE GRANT and SEAN HILL