Meet The Man Behind Gambaro Seafood Restaurant, Persone And Black Hide

Have you met John?

By Penelope Pelecas | 6th October 2022

For many he’s known as one of Brisbane’s best restaurant directors, but to his friends and family he’s simply ‘John’. 

“I love my private time with my family. I love having breakfast with them on a Sunday, going for walks, going to the movies, and I love having an afternoon kip if they allow me,” John Gambaro, Director of Gambaro Group, says in between laughs.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to many that family is one of the most important things in his life. John has been working in his family’s business, which started off as a humble fish ‘n’ chip shop in Petrie Terrace in 1953, for the past 36 years. Starting out back-of-house cleaning dishes and peeling potatoes, John knows everything there is to know about running a successful business, and credits his father, the late Michael Gambaro (aka, the ‘King of Caxton Street’), and his mother for his passion for food and people.  

“I love people, I love meeting people, I love developing, and I love creating new concepts,” he says.

A typical day in his life consists of everything from planning, reviewing, creating, and most importantly connecting with people. “What I love to do is walk the venues,” he says. “I like to get around to all the venues daily, so I can touch [base with] the guests and our staff.” 

John says his biggest learnings from his career up until now is taking time to plan. “[Take] time to plan, slow down, you know, do the analysis a little bit more. Always look at not just the positives, but the negatives that can come from it. Plan [for] the unexpected.”

The name Gambaro has been synonymous with top notch hospitality in Brisbane for almost 60 years. Today Gambaro Group comprises of the multi-award-winning Gambaro Seafood Restaurant, MG Bar and Function Centre, Persone, Black Hide by Gambaro, Black Hide Steakhouse, and the five-star boutique hotel Gambaro Hotel, with two more venues on the cards for late next year (stay tuned!). 

“We’re planning on opening two more venues next year, one inner city and one down south on the coast,” he says. 

When asked how it feels to have such an iconic reputation in Brisbane, John says: “We’re grateful. We live and breathe looking after people. All we want to do is make sure our diners have the best experience possible.

“When you look at Brisbane, there’s no other place to live, with its combination of beautiful weather, beautiful people, and great developments. We’re no longer the little sister to the other states.”





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