La Tabella owner Leni Fries
La Tabella owner Leni Fries

Restaurants offer takeaways to stay afloat

DESPITE strict limitations on restaurants and cafes due to the coronavirus, a committed group of owners are forging ahead and offering takeaway options.

Open tonight in Airlie Beach are La Tabella, d’Viet House and the Whitsunday Seafood Bar, all on The Esplanade.

Leni Fries, who has owned Italian restaurant La Tabella for seven years, said they had been offering takeaways since the day after restaurants were told they could not operate as normal anymore.

“It’s starting to pick up momentum, now that the benefits are starting to come through for the people who have lost their jobs – it’s started to improve slightly,” Mrs Fries said.

“I think everyone’s just trying to keep their heads above water. It has been fantastic to see all the locals support us, it’s wonderful. It’s the locals popping in to say hi that keeps me going.”

As well as the usual menu items available at reduced prices for takeaway, from 12pm to 8pm, there is also a daily specials board, which includes tasty temptation such as Osso Bucco, wild caught barramundi and chicken polpette.

Coffees are available all day, as well as cold drinks and milk shakes. Wine and beer is also available to buy with takeaway meals.

Just along the road is the Whitsunday Seafood Bar, which is offering takeaways from 10.30am to 8pm, seven days a week.

Cherie O’Reilly, who has owned the business for 10 years with husband Chris, said it was “not a surprise” that business was well down.

“But at the moment, we are opening the doors and locals have always been good to us in the quiet times, so even though we are not making any profit, it’s good for the town and we are grateful for any customers we do get,” she said.

“Everyone’s been great – we are only a small shop but everyone’s complying with the regulations of only two people in the shop at once, when they pick up their food.

“We have sanitiser and people see us cleaning all the fridge doors and it gives people a sense of comfort. It’s our business, so we are just working all the hours at the moment.”

Also on The Esplanade is d’Viet House, which started doing deliveries for the first time today (Saturday).

“We have had a few good responses from Facebook, so hopefully people come out tonight,” Thao Nguyen, who has owned the business two-and-a-half years, said.

“We have been closed for three weeks and people have been asking, When are you opening? We did takeaway before, we just haven’t done delivery.”

The restaurant is open from 4pm to 8pm with delivery available between 5.30pm and 7.30pm.

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