Win­ery’s top eatery on hunt for chefs

Break for The Bar­rel­room

Stanthorpe Border Post - - NEWS | SPECIAL REPORT: BUSINESS CLOSURES - Nicky Mof­fat

THE fran­tic search for a new ten­ant to run one of the Gran­ite Belt’s best known eater­ies is on af­ter The Bar­rel­room and Larder’s own­ers an­nounced they will close on De­cem­ber 31.

The es­tab­lish­ment at Bal­lan­dean Es­tate was named in The Sun­day Mail’s

De­li­cious 100 list this year and has been part of Queens­land’s old­est fam­i­ly­owned-and-op­er­ated win­ery for three years.

Co-owner Ara­bella Cham­bers and part­ner Travis Crane are mov­ing back to Bris­bane to be closer to both their fam­i­lies, af­ter Ms Cham­bers’ grand­mother re­cently died.

Mr Crane has been asked to be­come head chef at a restau­rant open­ing in James St, For­ti­tude Val­ley, in Jan­uary.

“We had al­ways planned to set­tle here long term, but with things hap­pen­ing back home we de­cided to re-as­sess and we de­cided to be closer to fam­ily,” Ms Cham­bers said.

She was tight-lipped about the name of the new restau­rant but said it would in­volve one of Mr Crane’s great loves, cook­ing over wood­fire.

“It’s a fan­tas­tic busi­ness, it’s run­ning re­ally well,” she said, adding it was “very re­ward­ing” to be part of the Puglisi fam­ily.

“They’ve al­ways sup­ported us and done ev­ery­thing they could to help and it’ll be very sad to leave them.”

She thanked din­ers and said the pub­lic’s sup­port had been over­whelm­ing in the three years they had run the Bar­rel­room, which has been part of the Bal­lan­dean Es­tate since 1997.

Bal­lan­dean Es­tate busi­ness man­ager Robyn Hen­der­son said The Bar­rel­room was likely to be closed from De­cem­ber 31 while a re­place­ment ten­ant was found.

“We want to still pro­duce the best food on the Gran­ite Belt so we’re look­ing high and low for some­one to take over the restau­rant,” Mrs Hen­der­son said.

“It’s a great chal­lenge.” She said Bal­lan­dean

Es­tate had been serv­ing food since the 1970s and would con­tinue.

“We opened the restau­rant full time, seven days a week in

1997 and we will ab­so­lutely find some­body else to re­place these guys,” she said.

Bal­lan­dean Es­tate will re­tain the busi­ness name The Bar­rel­room, which its eatery has been known as for the last 20 years.

“We wish (Ara­bella and Travis) all the best,” Mrs Hen­der­son said.

“They have made an in­cred­i­ble dif­fer­ence to food on the Gran­ite Belt and re­ally pro­moted lo­cal pro­duce like I be­lieve was never done be­fore.”

She said there were no hard feel­ings and the ten­ants had stayed for the du­ra­tion of their lease and had been “great am­bas­sadors for the Gran­ite Belt”.

“We’ve re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated hav­ing them...we would have loved for them to stay for­ever,” Mrs Hen­der­son said.

Bal­lan­dean Es­tate has 40,000 vis­i­tors to its cel­lar door ev­ery year and has mul­ti­ple at­trac­tions for a top chef, and Mrs Hen­der­son was con­fi­dent one would take on the gig.

“We are a great lessor...we are a fam­ily who wants to help some­body into this busi­ness,” Mrs Hen­der­son said. “We will do what­ever we can to help the peo­ple who come in...their busi­ness is in­side our busi­ness.”

They have made an in­cred­i­ble dif­fer­ence to food on the Gran­ite Belt.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

MOV­ING ON: The Bar­rel­room and Larder's Ara­bella Cham­bers and Travis Crane.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Ara­bella Cham­bers and Travis Crane in 2015.

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