Businesses are on the move in the Main Street of Airlie Beach.
Popular Main Street eatery, Hog’s Breath Café, has a new owner, who has big plans for the restaurant.
Now a national chain, the first ever Hog’s Breath Café in Australia was opened in Airlie Beach, in 1989, initially in a different spot in the Main Street, before its current home was built.
Romesh Patel took over the Airlie Beach Hog’s in October last year and said things were going pretty well, up to this point.
“Three years ago, I came for a holiday here and I enjoyed it a lot – the town’s really good and the people are great,” Mr Patel, a qualified chef, said.
“My dream was to have a restaurant – I used to help my mum with the cooking back home in India – and the original Hog’s Breath was up for sale, so I bought it.
“It’s the flagship restaurant for the whole country and I want to turn it around – I want to make people trust Hogs Breath again.
“We have a really good team – 90 per cent are locals – and a great manager in Christopher Mason, and we are working on it.”
Mr Patel, who trained as a chef in Brisbane and spent many years working for airline catering companies there, said his main goal this year was to support the local community, through sponsoring school sports clubs or sporting events.
“I will also shout the first drink to any local who has proof they’re living locally.
“I will probably do a refurb at the end of this year but, right now, my goal is to give better service to the customer.”
Also on the move in the Airlie Beach Main Street is The Jungle Trader, which sells homewares, gifts and jewellery.
The business is for sale and current owner Ivan Pratt, who has had it for two-and-a-half years, wants it to go to someone local, who can love it like he does.
As well as the retail side, Mr Pratt also supplies the resorts including artworks, mirrors and ornaments.
Well known Airlie Beach business Just Tuk’n Around has also recently changed hands, having been sold by its original owners, Tania and Brett Jones, after four years.
In that time, the couple took it from a business with three tuk tuks, to 14, and employing 20 staff, continually innovating and creating new products.
It was sold to new owners Brooke and Marty Mosley, from Perth, who took over the business in January. The pair previously worked in corporate jobs but opted for a sea change after they grew tired of not being able to spend time together.
“We saw this business and thought it looked pretty cool, so came to Airlie Beach and fell in love with it, as soon as we drove over the hill, and didn’t want to go home.
“It was really a no brainer, we came and looked at the business and thought, that’s a really great idea, and thought ‘this is it, this is for us’.”
Source: Whitsunday Times.