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  • Writer's picturePenny Keogh

In this time of need it’s time for a feed

Resin Brewery, For $25 you can enjoy 1kg Family packs of Eat at Sandy's style Lamb Shoulder and Shakshuka Ragout. Just add your favourite grain for a great family meal.

In this crazy time, none of us quite know what to do.

We spare a thought for our industrious food, beverage and hospitality community as they ride out this wave of uncertainty, by switching to food orders instead of dining in.

We came across a food orders Facebook site called Illawarra Menu, which has taken up the cause to help our food community to build their clientele with their new business model.

During this time more than 23,000 local foodies have joined the group, with an array of food and hospitality distributors showcasing their wares on this wonderful site.

Here we interview staff from a few local venues who share their experience getting through this tough time and how we can help.

Brendan Dowd, Owner of Resin Brewery in Bulli

After more than two years setting up our business, we opened for two weeks and then had to close. Since then we’ve had a total business model adaptation and 180 degree turn in what we do.

The first two weeks we were open, it was amazing. Locals really got behind us. We have a 200-person capacity and for six days in that initial 10 we probably served more than 600 patrons in a day with turnover.

Our bar manager, Dom Turner, who has worked all the popular local venues and has been in hospitality for 25 years, said he’d never worked a busier week in his career.

But now, we have six full time staff, including Dom, three in the kitchen and then myself and co-owner Steve. We had to make this work in a different way than we planned.

So, now we do take away beer and food. We are stocking ‘growlers’, which is an American style resealable bottle, that is almost two litres and similar to the size of a traditional six pack. We sell our specialised growler bottles at cost price, being $25, which we sanitise and refill with any style beer we serve.

Our beers range in price from $20-$34, with our biggest seller being the Sandon Lager. Our most popular big beer is our Resinate IPA.

For food, the Reuben Burger is a favourite, a beef pastrami feast. There’s also the vegetarian version, using eggplant.

We’re all in the same boat together with this and it is what it is. It’s about making the best of things.

Georgia Mattlock, Front of House Manager at North Break Café in Woonona

This is a massive change to what we’re used to, but the community support has been overwhelming.

Everyone has our back, coming in as often as they can. Everyone is talking more, and not chatting on phone so much. We’re still doing and social distancing, but there’s a welcoming and loving atmosphere.

You can visit us on our Facebook page.

Our menu is the same, including morning meals and lunchtime burgers. We’ve expanded our menu with dinner meals, that will be a variety of options, including some Italian and Mexican inspired dishes.

Our prices will still be very affordable as we know our customers are also doing it tough. Life has changed, trying to look after the kids and juggle this new lifestyle. Just like so many others, we want to do our bit and give back to the community.

Violette Papalia, Owner of Cucina, Thirroul

The morning traffic has reduced a little. A lot more of our customers are staying at home to work and school their kids. Now they’re coming out later, when the kids have recess.

Our dining area has changed, but our delivery, pickup and display case has remained the same.

The community has been supporting us. Most people around here are trying to buy local. I think the ones who are working from home are happy to do what they can.

We’ve kept all our 10 staff on and while we’ve given them a reduced roster, we’re pleased we can still operate.

We’ve a large menu because we have four chefs, each with their own specialty. Our large menu has worked for us for 17 years and our customers appreciate our range. We serve curries, soups, salads, samosas, cakes and so much more.

Our frozen meal menu is shown on our Facebook page. But we’ve new food most days on our specials list, so give us a call and we’ll talk you through those. We deliver free locally.

Wishing you all the best,


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