Henry Smale is Beach Burrito personified. He’s a ripper musician, carpenter, surfer, yarn-spinner and laugh-bringer, all brewed into one crisp Smale Ale.
After bringing his refreshing bubbliness to several of our burrito stores over the years, he and his shaggy beard have recently landed the manager’s gig in Newcastle, NSW.
As the old proverb goes, no Shaggy is complete without their Scooby. Thankfully, Henry’s sidekick is significantly smarter but just as fun-loving. Say g’day to Georgina, another powerhouse crew member behind the good times at Newcastle.
Like any good beer, or good person being compared to a beer, Henross absolutely peaks in the sunshine (and comes with an *unconfirmed* bonus 6-pack (of beer, relax)). Fortunately, our Newy shack is drenched in sunlight, which is where you can often find him pumping piña coladas and chomping on chimichangas.
We could continue rinsing this beer metaphor, but we’ll save you the agony and let the legend speak for himself. For this pit-stop of Tour de Burrito we stole Henry away for a quick catch-up.
Henross! Although you run Newcastle’s local Beach Burrito, you’re not actually a local. How the heck did you end up in Newy?
I was first introduced to Beach Burrito when my old work had their staff party at the Glenelg store. It was a mad night and my friends encouraged me to drop a resume in – which I did – and kicked off pretty much immediately. After that, I became a bit of a ‘yes’ man for Angus (BBC Operations Extraordinaire) who started saying weird things like, “Hey, do you wanna help out in Sydney for summer?” and, “Hey, do you wanna give us a hand in Newcastle for a bit?”, to which my answer was always yes, and then yes, followed by yes.
So, are you from Adelaide originally?
Nah, I’m from Streaky Bay, 8 hours west of Adelaide! I moved to Adelaide a few years ago for a sea change. I made the jump mid-2017 and just started making shit happen over there.
Wow, you’ve been everywhere man. Being semi-fresh to Newy, what are your favourite things about it so far?
Newcastle in general is such a cool, beach-oriented place. There’s lots of music, lots of art, heaps of young people; there’s just masses of cool creative things happening everywhere. It’s a very youthful place.
Where can we find you on a Saturday night and a Sunday morning?
Saturday night it’s gotta be The Lass. And then first thing Sunday morning we bang down the door at the café Three Monkeys next door to Burrito. They’ve got the goods.
Rumour has it you’ve got a pretty gun 2IC in Newy, who IS she?!?!
Yeah my girlfriend Georgina is basically my boss haha. She moved over here with me and she works super hard at the store doing all the stuff I’m no good at. She’s also taken the reigns of our Beach Burrito XG App, cause she’s a total genius.
We’ve noticed a few spruce ups to the Newcastle store since the two of you rocked up. What kind of handyman action have you been up to?
Basically, we vamped up everything we possibly could. We painted the bar, fixed doors, redid light shades, tables, rehung lights in the back courtyard area. I pretty much did an emu walk of the venue until I was happy with it haha.
It looks like a pretty good place for a gig. How’s the live gig calendar looking in Newy?
Its been on and off with acoustic gigs but on the weekend we had a band play who were amazing, and we have two more juicy nights coming up on the 19th and 20th of February. I might bust out the guitar and do a lil acoustic set before one of the bands if they don’t have supports.
So humble Henross! We heard you’ve got a wicked set of pipes on ya and don’t mind a live set or two. What if you were headlining at Beach Burrito, who would you have supporting you?
I’m not asking for heaps, but I’d love to have Skeggs and Hockey Dad. I’ve been listening to those guys heaps lately, and I think I’d be a nice mellow comedown afterwards. Might take the 3am-5am slot. Rip out the guitar and treat everyone to some Pete Murray cause they all would’ve seen ‘Better Days’ by that point.
Sounds like a great ‘Opportunity’. Wrapping things up, what do you like most about what you do?
I love the job because I’ve been everywhere with it. It’s taken me from Adelaide, to Coogee, to Bondi, then back to Adelaide, and now to Newcastle. It’s epic that it’s essentially run by one team and you can just boost around having the best time. I’ve been wanting to be on the East Coast for years so finally winding up here has made me very happy. The first day we rolled in was definitely one of the best moments ever. It was like, “sweet, we’re here, this is happening, this is my life, this is so cool”.
Whip your helmets on, load up your backpacks with crunchy taquitos and strap those speed dealers to your faces folks, cause for our next stop we’re riding a super chill 1500km to Glenelg, SA. Eat my dust!
Words by Tess Fuller.
Photos by Wade Whitington.