Seafood restaurant makes a comeback
AFTER being closed for about 10 months, Ryan Deller-Smith is looking to reopen his Rockhampton business, Port Scallywag Seafood Restaurant.
He was forced to shut in March with coronavirus restrictions and now has finally been able to get back on his feet and open.
It has been tough financially as the business still had bills coming in with no income.
“We weren’t able to do takeaway …. It’s not really the same, the food I was doing, just the quality of it just wouldn’t be as good,” Mr Deller-Smith said.
Mr Deller-Smith was successful for some government funding, but found he didn’t qualify for most of the requirements as he was only a very small business.
The restaurant was opened in December 2018 and is quite a young business.
Mr Deller-Smith wasn’t able to get JobKeeper as he didn’t have the capital behind him.
“JobKeeper was alright for big companies but for us small businesses, it was more money out than we had coming in,” he said.
“I had to pay my staff for a month and then I would get it back, but I didn’t have that money because I was closed.”
Mr Deller-Smith also had some qualms about how the government had handled the pandemic.
In his eyes, he didn’t see a need for hospitality to be shut down completely the way it was, particularly in the regions.
“Australia’s not a densely populated country, we aren’t living so close to our neighbours,” he said.
“We could have done some of the other restrictions beforehand and remained open.
“But that wasn’t an option, we were just told to shut.”
Now as most of the restrictions have been relaxed, Mr Deller-Smith has reopened the bar at the Fitzroy Motor Boat Club.
He will slowly work his way up to serving food as the money comes in.
It is hoped the business would be open Wednesday to Saturday, 2pm to 10pm, with the afternoon for drinks and for dinner.
While they get on their feet it will be a smaller menu.
“More of a place to come in the afternoon, sit and eat and enjoy the views … there’s a pool table,” he said.
“Still do oysters, half-shell scallops, surf and turf sandwich, blackboard specials.
“I’d rather go a little slow at the moment … I don’t want to go too crazy and get a little nuts.”