WELCOME CHANGE: New operators at the Ballandean Tavern Stephen and Naomi Day with their children Zac and Sophie.
WELCOME CHANGE: New operators at the Ballandean Tavern Stephen and Naomi Day with their children Zac and Sophie. Matthew Purcell

Fresh direction for tavern

WITH any new business there's always a hectic period before things start to level out.

However, for the new operators at the Ballandean Tavern, they say they've been run off their feet the past few weeks since taking over the much-loved business.

"It's been tiring but good,” Naomi Day said.

Naomi and husband Stephen took control of the tavern on Friday, December 21.

"From about 3.30 that afternoon everything came through and we opened that night.

"By Saturday the next day it sort of had sunk in a bit and we started doing what we were supposed to be doing,” Stephen said.

They're leasing the tavern from the existing owner, with a five-year agreement with an option of a further five years and then another five.

The Ballandean locals said it was important that the tavern had some life breathed back into it after a difficult period.

"I worked here for a while and saw the potential it had,” Naomi said.

"My parents had a pub so I grew up in one. It has been great.”

They said it's imperative that they get local bums back on seats.

"We don't want to just be relying on travellers. We've had the locals coming back in and booked to come back again.”

Naomi said that has made the process easier knowing they have the support of the area.

They've also brought experienced chef Grant Murphy back to man the kitchen.

He was born in the area and grew up at Ballandean before relocating to the coast for work.

"I did my apprenticeship on the Gold Coast, ran a couple hotels down there and then moved back,” he said.

With vast experience at some top spots on the coast, Mr Murphy has introduced his own menu which is proving a hit.

More variety, better quality is what he wants to showcase. "The restaurant has been flat out. The meals are a big hit. Having Grant back on board has been fantastic,” Naomi said.

Australia Day is set to be a huge one for the business with a big day planned.

"We'll have a special menu, a jumping castle, games, yabby races and plenty going on.”

Naomi said people will need to book ahead for a table. The day will run from 10am right through she expects.

"We're excited for what's ahead. We feel we've seen a massive improvement already,” she said.

Tavern times

When: Open every day for lunch and dinner from 10am-2pm and 5.30-8.30pm. Open longer on weekends

Where: 2655 Eukey Rd, Ballandean

Contact: 4684 1044

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