About Ramzey Choker
To understand the vision behind The Grounds, first you must journey back 30 years and picture a farm and small town in northern NSW. It was here, among the farm animals, endless afternoons and rambling gardens that Ramzey Choker formed so many lasting memories with his family – on trips away from the city. Years later, these would play a huge part in creating everything that has become The Grounds of Alexandria.
What happened in between is what shaped his love for hospitality. Growing up, his father’s food service ventures were a constant, innovative and exciting presence. Ramzey learnt his father’s love for pushing boundaries and doing things no one else was doing – for pioneering in an industry of constant change.
By the age of 20, Ramzey was running his own business – followed by a decade of enterprises that taught him the day-to-day lessons of hospitality. But the biggest lesson was still to come. And it was one of loss, not gain.
In 2008, the Global Financial Crisis hit and swiftly took his father’s business. A few short years later, cancer swiftly took his father. Ramzey witnessed first-hand just how quickly things could change and it focused him like never before. Having lost almost everything, he put what was left on the line to pursue a vision that would honour his father and his family. A place that would again push boundaries and do things no one else was doing.
The year was 2012 and the location a corner site in an industrial suburb of Alexandria. Among the disused brick chimneys and bitumen car park, Ramzey envisaged a new kind of space – one that would add more than just coffee and cake. The Grounds of Alexandria would be a community in the heart of the city – a place of escape and discovery – that recreated the familiar simple nostalgia of those childhood trips.
At the heart of it all, The Grounds is about sharing stories, and as it has continued to grow, Ramzey’s own story has become clearer too. The country kitchen, cobblestone lanes, backyard BBQs, local milkbar and farmyard animals he loved as a child – brought to life through The Grounds’ now-famous venues and even its most famous resident, Kevin Bacon the pig!
Whether it’s through new innovations or his own personal development, Ramzey is constantly pushing himself and others around him to be better – in the small details and the big picture. He believes that hospitality is so much more than just food and drink – it’s about inspiring people and making memories. Turning dreams into reality…