Huge $500k+ plans revealed for stylish lagoon restaurant
GRAZING on locally sourced produce with a pristine view of the Keppels will soon be a reality for Karla McPhail's customers as fit-out begins on the region's most diverse restaurant.
Spending "well in excess of $500,000" on the specialist design, The Rocks Restaurant and Bar at the Yeppoon Lagoon will be a reflection of the produce in Central Queensland as well as being a "super centre" for hospitality training.
Mrs McPhail, a successful business woman and owner of seven-business enterprise The Real Group, said in her 20 years on the coast taking on the cafe and restaurant at the new precinct was her biggest investment.
"We have been putting in a lot of time into planning and making sure it is a space that's different so we aren't encroaching on other businesses," she said.
Based around a "taste plate" dining experience, specialists were creating a 20 to 30 meal menu showcasing beef, seafood, meat, caviar and organic fruit and vegetable arrangements for a "cosmopolitan eating experience"- all sourced locally.
"We are making sure that we get the menu right for the market so it is accessible, stylish and reflects the venue," she said.
"Everything will be sourced locally- food, produce, coffee and even water, served to you by local staff and chefs."
Wine and beer tastings will also be on the menu paired with the food palette, including a signature cocktail list at the decadent bar.
A bohemian-style interior mixed with coastal touches will house up to 90 guests both inside and on the wrap-around deck.
Despite the stylish look and expensive fit-out, Mrs McPhail said this didn't influence the meal prices.
"Good quality affordable food for a lot of people is more important than having expensive food for the select few," she said.
"We absolutely wanted to make it an extremely affordable family day out and we want people to come back to our region."
Expanding on from her training company Coal Train, Mrs McPhail said the facility "lends itself beautifully" to a training hub for hospitality students.
The facility will transform three-days a week into a centre for students training in Certificate 3 in Hospitality, barista courses, responsible service of gambling and alcohol courses and eventually first aid and water safety training.
"We have a strong business plan around economic viability as well as adding value to the facility," she said.
"Certainly in this new business we are expanding our business base. Coal Train have been training for several years and we have a lot of trainees in this region that we work with.
"The facility will become a hub to change the training platform of the coast."
Mrs McPhail said discussions with the "best specialists in their fields" meant the restaurant would be one of a kind.
"It's an absolutely awesome facility. The plans and the design is brilliant," she said.
Diners will be able to watch their meal being cooked in a "live" kitchen area big enough for up to 10 chefs.
A "catch and cook" experience through Hooked Fishing Charters will also be implemented where chefs at The Rocks will cook the catch of the day for a delicious dinner.
For the downstairs cafe, which opened at the lagoon unveiling on May 5, Mrs McPhail said it was just the beginning.
"We will be rolling out family BBQ packs and picnic packs over the next couple of months," she sad.
"Coffee from local suppliers will also be coming out this week."
Although final designs for the restaurant were still being finalised, Mrs McPhail said it was a huge task.
"It's a really big investment for us. We will be taking care of the entire fit out including the kitchen, bar, lighting, plumbing- everything."
Livingstone Shire Council have granted the company a "small period of free rent" to counteract the fit-out costs with the restaurant.
The Rocks Restaurant and Bar is expected to open before the September school holidays.