It’s no secret that little gestures go a long way, an in Joey Kellock’s case, they come in the form of digital billboards, stickers and posters all over Melbourne and Sydney.
It’s a tough time to be in Melbourne or Sydney right now. The two Australian cities that are known for some of the best restaurants, bars, events and social community vibes in the country have endured the worst lockdowns out of any Australian state.
Having lived through neverending lockdowns in Melbourne since March 2020, I can personally attest for how difficult the lifestyle adjustment has been.
Going from spontaneous suburban bar crawls, gallery openings, brand launches and generally busy work and social life, vibrant Melbourne has been flipped on its head with tough lockdown restrictions. It’s missing its usual buzz of life—even Flinders Street Station is eerily quiet.
Enter Joey Kellock, creator of takeaway lasagne hotline and eatery 1800-LASAGNE and self-proclaimed lasagne king of the north. Not only does he (literally) deliver the goods in the form of vegetarian and traditional lasagne, he’s been going above and beyond to lift the spirits during Covid times.
It started with a simple message shared to Instagram “Hang in There, Melbourne” with his signature 1800-LASAGNE heart, on a red background. Doomscrolling down Instagram one dreary lockdown day, was a nice surprise. Albeit simple, sometimes words of encouragement are all you need.
Being the marketing master he is, the message didn’t stop there.
It went from an Instagram post to a coaster delivered with lasagne deliveries, to a sticker, to posters plastered all over town, to four massive digital billboards around Melbourne’s CBD and South Melbourne.
It may not seem like much, but really, it’s everything. Although it’s clear that we’re not alone in a global pandemic, being isolated from each other can make us feel pretty alone. So reminders like these, that pop up when you least expect them and are simple and true, just hit different.
Not only has Joey spread the love and words of encouragement all around Melbourne, but he’s also managed to hit Sydney with his bright light too, sending “a thousand love letters” their way.
With the help of Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham (co-owners of Mary’s, The Lansdowne and The Unicorn Hotel), he managed to get a “big love letter” painted as a mural on the side of Mary’s in Newtown.
Not only is this a smart business move for Joey (because if you didn’t know what 1800-LASAGNE was before, you sure do now), but it comes from such a genuine place. He’s the guy that will greet you with a Fernet Branca shot, the smiling face you see pulling up to Piedemonte’s, the saviour that makes homemade lasagne and delivers it to you fresh with a healthy side of banter. These words of encouragement are an embodiment of who Joey Kellock is to his community and they somehow just mean more, coming from a dude who truly thrives in the social environments that we’re really missing right now.
If he says all we gotta do is hang in there, then y’know it’s going to be okay.
Not only has Joey been spreading the love letters all over Sydney and Melbourne, but he’s also been bringing small-businesses together to offer free takeaway as a pick-me-up in lockdown.
Coming together with restaurants like Good Gnocchi, he’s been heading up some incredibly generous takeaway food offerings to alleviate the financial and emotional stress brought on by Covid.
These offerings having been popping-up pretty frequently. You can stay up to date by following @1800lasagne on Instagram.
The cold weather in most parts of Australia coinciding with EOFY celebrations is the closest thing that we’ll get to snowy Christmas vibes. And if you’re in dire need of some festive cheer after the first six months of 2023, grab your ugly sweater and head to your nearest Red Rooster for Xmas in July deals.
From June 29 – July 31, 2023, Red Rooster is serving up free food items, a chance to win $10,000 or one of 10 merch packs valued at $400 and other fun prizes. All you have to do is sign up as a Red Royalty member and spend $5 on at a location near you or online.
Each week there’ll be new delicious deals and prizes to win. The week one deals have already dropped and they’re looking pretty tasty. You can get access to them via your Red Royalty account. The more you purchase, the more chances you have to win.
Spoiler alert: you can get 10 chicken nuggets for free, right now. Brb running to Red Rooster.