Guildford icon Alfred’s Kitchen turns 70


Alfred’s owner Daniel Lawrence.
Alfred’s owner Daniel Lawrence.

ALFRED’S Kitchen, a cornerstone of Guilford’s community since 1946, has turned 70.

This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the Lawrence family’s ownership and operation of the roadside burger joint since acquiring it in 1986.

Alfred’s owner Daniel Lawrence has been busy since September last year ensuring the occasion did not go unmarked.

Last month, the burger joint started to open at lunchtime on weekends, following the installation of new tables and a rail carriage earlier in the year.

Mr Lawrence said the significance of such changes at Alfred’s reflected how Guilford itself was changing.

“Right now Guilford is really coming of age – there are a lot more people around on the weekends,” he said.

“The Guilford Hotel across the road has been rebuilt and with all the growth in Guilford, Midland and the Swan Valley more tourism and families are coming in.

“All the local businesses are supportive of each other in making that happen.

“When we started in 1986 there were only two or three other restaurants around Guilford.

“Now there are between 16 and 20; it’s great we all feed off each other.”

Mr Lawrence said people from all walks of life felt welcome at Alfred’s “and it’s been like that for a few decades now.”

He recalled Alfred’s in the 1980s being widely recognised as a neutral ground at which “officers, bikies, truckers and hard nuts” could stand in line and talk comfortably.

Now the “hard nuts” were still there, standing alongside business suits at the fireplace and young families at lunchtime.

“It’s the relaxed atmosphere created by good food that does it,” Mr Lawrence said.

“We’re not pretentious, we’re not gourmet but we’re not a trailer park either.”

From behind the counter at Alfred’s, Mr Lawrence has witnessed the evolution of Perth, Midland and Guilford as he learnt the kitchen trade from his father.

“I moved to Guilford with my family in 1979,” he said.

“My father bought Alfred’s in 1986 from Alex Moody who succeeded Alfred Cook, the kitchen’s founder.

“My father was working at a restaurant in the CBD at the time.

“On his way home he would often stop by Alfred’s and ask if they would sell the business.

“He saw its potential and liked how close to home it was.

“My father often reminds me of what Moody said to him when he bought the business: ‘You can make it as big as you want or as small as you want’.

“Sometimes I kick myself because Alfred’s keeps getting bigger and it doesn’t have to be big to be successful.”

Mr Lawrence claims that it is always his goal to improve the experience at Alfred’s and the ability of the kitchen to serve the community.

He assured his customers that the menu, no nonsense service and the front area would stay the same as it always had been.

“A couple of diehard Alfred’s fans don’t like what were doing with the carriage, tables and our weekend service,” he said.

“They think it’s ruining the essence of Alfred’s.

“But Guilford is changing and if you’re a business, you have to adapt to serve your environment so that you can remain a part of the community.

“You can still order the same way, get served by the same people, the carriage and tables are around the corner from the fires, so you don’t even have to look at them if you don’t want to.”

Mr Lawrence said he also hoped that by hiring out the rail carriage, more groups from Midland and Guilford would meet at Alfred’s on a regular basis.