Jeff and Sam Kuhl have closed their Project Mex restaurant.
Jeff and Sam Kuhl have closed their Project Mex restaurant.

‘Overwhelmed’: Project Mex owners say adiós to diners

PROJECT Mex lovers are in mourning this week as the beloved Rockhampton restaurant has officially closed its doors.

Owners Sam and Jeffrey Kuhl opened the George St business in late 2014, after Pacinos moved to The Empire on the Riverbank.

Before this, they had the Crooked Cactus bistro and restaurant at the Saleyard Hotel for six years.

Sam and Jeffrey Kuhl at the Crooked Cactus in 2013.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Sam and Jeffrey Kuhl at the Crooked Cactus in 2013.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

With two daughters in Brisbane and one finishing school this year that has plans to head south as well, the couple decided to make a lifestyle and family choice to close the business.

Having been in the small business industry for the better part of the past 12 years, Sam said it was physically and mentally demanding.

"It's a massive commitment," she said.

"We have been doing it long enough now we are ready to set some new goals and move in a new direction and just enjoy some more freedom to get down see the kids.

"We're ready to do something else, we just feel we are ready to move on."

The husband and wife team gave customers a months notice to get their Mexican food fix in, with their last day on Saturday night.

The first two weeks were crazy with orders flooding in and food selling out.

"We were a bit surprised because we had given so much notice," Sam said.

They were quite busy on Friday night but the last night was quiet, presumably because everyone else thought it would be busy for the last night.

Project Mex has been in the building on George St for five years, since Pacinos moved to the riverbank.
Project Mex has been in the building on George St for five years, since Pacinos moved to the riverbank.

Over the years, Sam said she had been caught up in keeping the business running and the past month has given her a chance to slow down and realise how much locals loved the restaurant.

"When you are running it you are thinking about how you can do it better and when you don't have to think about that anymore, you really have time to talk to the customers," she said.

"I was really quite overwhelmed by what they were saying.

"I am still surprised at how much people loved it."

Sam is planning on taking a break while Jeffrey is looking for a management position in the hospitality sector.

There is potential Project Mex food could make a reappearance.

While the couple has no plans to reopen a restaurant, there is a possibility if the food fits in with the business Jeffrey finds a job at, it could be on the menu.

 

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