Margaret River's latest dining destination has been a labour of love and a lesson in patience for the owners and team behind Margaret River Tapas & Bar.
Originally set to open just days after the initial COVID-19 shutdown kicked in, the revamped venue at Doust's Corner south of Margaret River townsite was forced into hiatus.
"It was really difficult, not knowing when we could open and under what conditions, but in some ways the delay allowed us to fine tune and focus on what is important to us," explained venue manager Tanya Mayberry.
Echoing the sentiments of other operators in town, Ms Mayberry said a reduced workforce in the region meant sourcing bar and wait staff, and even their head chefs, was a challenge.
Just weeks prior to the new opening date, local chefs Mark Westaway and Dean Hulston stepped into the kitchen. "It ended up being perfect timing, and we are really excited to have Mark and Dean on board, we're very lucky to have secured such great chefs who complement our small team very well."
The delay in opening allowed time to transform the site - previously the home of Kezaray's Bar - with Spanish-inspired decor and an assortment of comfortable furnishings as part of owners Geoff and Sue Doust's desire to provide a comfortable, approachable space for diners to relax.
"Comfort is everything to me, and I wanted the space to be warm and welcoming, and intimate," Mrs Doust said.
"We have heaters installed in the outdoor area so people can stay warm in the colder months. The indoor decor started with just one Chesterfield sofa and continued from there with that same feeling of cosiness and comfort."
Stylish crystal glassware, locally-made art, colourful furnishings and indoor plants add to the atmosphere, while a carefully selected beverage list and attention to local ingredients add to the bar offerings.
The overwhelming response was a wider selection of gluten free dishes, so we worked to develop a menu that is both delicious and tempting, but also takes into account those dietary needs of our community.Tanya Mayberry, Venue Manager
Westaway, Hulston and the venue team are hard at work, preparing and tasting the brand new menu in readiness for opening this Friday.
Margaret River-born Westaway had returned home to the South West after years working on the East coast, and after stints at a number of restaurants in the region, his career was put on hold due to the pandemic shutdown.
"It was definitely good timing, and worked out really well for everyone, at the moment we're all working hard to get ready for opening," he said.
"Every item on the menu except for one is gluten free, which is the result of some market research we conducted with locals to find out what they were looking for," said Ms Mayberry. "The overwhelming response was a wider selection of gluten free dishes, so we worked to develop a menu that is both delicious and tempting, but also takes into account those dietary needs of our community."
Find out more
Margaret River Tapas & Bar opens this Friday September 4 from 11am - 9pm. Bookings are strongly advised and can be made via firstname.lastname@example.org
For info visit www.facebook.com/MRTapasbar