After a successful career as a fine dining chef in well known Sydney and Melbourne restaurants Maurizio Giraldi is fast making a name for himself at Moe's Burgers in Fairy Meadow.
After opening in Corrimal last October the business was forced to relocate to the site of a former bistro next to the Charles Hotel where Mr Giraldi has just finished renovating a comedy space.
"I want to do regular comedy nights. I am hoping to start them in August," he said.
"We are going to be working with Wollongong Comedy. We will start off with local acts but I would love to get some celebrities in.
"I working on a comedy night menu now. It will be like a bar snack menu. We also have a big screen where people can come anytime to watch fights or the footy. We have the UFC on here. And we want to do some live music. It is just a space you can come and chill out. It is open to the public every night".
Moe's has quickly become a go-to burger destination in the Illawarra not only for its American-style hamburgers but other quirky menu items such as the Vegemite Mac'n'Cheese.
"People just love vegemite and cheese toasties and I figured why not do it as a macaroni. I also do cereal milk. I do milk flavoured Coco Pops, Fruit Loops, Honey Smacks, Nutri Grain and that kind of stuff. And the Moenuts are like a hand-dropped donuts that we do. I have done a Milo crembulate flavour for it"
Mr Giraldi said the response in Corrimal was fantastic.
"The locals loved it. And the reason I chose this spot at Fairy Meadow is there was nothing like it in the area for locals to come and hang out and get really affordable food. When we moved here to this bigger space the clients we had in Corrimal kept coming. And we are getting the same response in Fairy Meadow".
The most popular burger in both locations has been the Cheesy Moe for $12. It is made with an Angus beef patty, American cheddar cheese, onion, pickles, tomato sauce made in-house and mustard mayo.
"I used to work in fine dining restaurants in Sydney, Melbourne and Newcastle and I worked in Rome. I also had my own catering business. I was catering for high end clients in the city for three years. During that time the burger craze started. Being in the industry I was aware of that and I loved burgers. I just though they were the perfect vessel to just do cool food".
Mr Giraldi decided to add his unique take to the burger market in Wollongong because it was such a calm place to live and work. "I love the relaxed lifestyle and being able to go to the beach each day. My partner and I found a house here we were going to rent out as an investment. But we decided to move here. We have just fallen in love with Wollongong".