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An Eatery Which Appealed to Political And Showbiz Figures is Closing After Co-Owner’s Murder

Wednesday 24
July 2013 @ 17:08

The name of the South African restaurant means “the back of beyond,” but it was the place to be in its heyday, drawing Elton, Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton and Charlize Theron and other global figures with its regionally inspired dishes. Now Gramadoelas is  closing its doors closing after the murder of Brian Shalkoff, one of the eatery’s two convivial owners.

Opened in 1967, Gramadoelas serves its last dinner in Johannesburg’s Market Theatre complex on Saturday, and auctioneers will soon sell off restaurant equipment as well as oil paintings, brassware and other decorative bric-a-brac.

Shalkoff, who died earlier this month, was badly injured in an assault in late May and was taken off life support.

The 65-year-old had been attacked by several men at his penthouse apartment. At the time, he was with his sister and Eduan Naude, the 80-year-old partner with whom he ran Gramadoelas and shared a home.

The assailants beat Shalkoff and stole laptops and other valuables. But Eduan said that Brian was the victim of a “vendetta” and had recently received threats.

“They didn’t go for me,” he said. “It was him they wanted.”

Constable Mduduzi Zondo, a police spokesman, said an investigation is underway and no arrests have been made. He declined to speculate on a motive.

Naude said he did not have the drive to run Gramadoelas on his own and that, before the attack, he had expected a “natural death” for his business by the end of the year. The Market Theatre did not want to renew the restaurant’s long-term lease because the space will be used for a bigger foyer in line with renovations that include extra audience seating.

Naude added that he was not “very sentimental” about the closure. Yet he spoke of his love of the place and its diverse clientele, admitting: “I actually dread the thought of not being able to come to my restaurant.”