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Restaurant marks ‘bittersweet’ birthday under new owners

By Ray White Whitsunday

FOR one Airlie Beach restaurant, its first birthday is a ‘bittersweet’ celebration, taking place amidst the coronavirus restrictions.

Sorrento Restaurant and Bar’s first birthday under new ownership took place this month, with owners Mandy Coles, Iyas Shaheen and Penny Coles keeping the wheels turning under difficult circumstances.

Takeaway trade at the popular eatery, at Coral Sea Marina, is going well and Ms Coles said they were very thankful for the support being shown by the locals at this challenging time.

“While this celebration is bittersweet, we still wanted to acknowledge it,” Ms Coles said.

“April 1 marked one year for us as the new owners of Sorrento, and what a year it has been!”

Ms Coles said the restaurant was seeing a lot of repeat business with the new takeaway menu.

“We’re getting a lot of repeat customers – it’s really humbling to see the number of locals supporting us and other restaurants too. They are supporting local businesses. A lot of people have lost their jobs so they’re struggling financially but they’re still supporting local.

“I’m really pleasantly surprised by it and we are very grateful. It’s tough but it’s keeping people in a job – we are working with a skeleton staff. We’re busy enough and keeping our heads above water.”

The restaurant has 30 staff and specialises in Italian cuisine with fresh, house-made pasta every day, as well as pizzas and risottos, all available on the takeaway menu from 11am to 2pm and 5pm to 8pm. Online ordering via the website is also available.

The restaurant also offers meat and seafood dishes under normal circumstances when people are dining in.

Ms Coles said the team was using the time for staff training, revamping the restaurant, and updating policies and procedures.

Last June, they renovated the upstairs restaurant and the Ocean Deck (balcony) creating a stunning function space for weddings and events, as well as a beautiful space to watch the spectacular marina and ocean views while enjoying lunch or dinner.

The restaurant also donates to numerous charities and community services, including schools, the PCYC, and the bushfire appeal, among others, and was awarded the Australian Good Food Guide Reader’s Choice award 2020.

“We have felt privileged to have built on the previous success of the venue and being able to withhold the reputation of the famous Sorrento name since taking over,” Ms Coles said.

“We are proud to have created a happy and cohesive working team environment where our staff are proud to be part of the team and we can’t thank them enough.

“We are so very thankful for all the great times, our local customers and travelling visitors, our staff, the positive feedback and the local community support. This is what has made the year so memorable for us.

“We are focused on being proactive, and we are looking forward to reopening and welcoming people back – hopefully sooner rather than later – and we are very appreciative and thankful for the support we’ve been shown.”

Source: Whitsunday Times

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