‘Tiny issue’ puts top restaurant out of business
ONE of the state's best restaurants and a tourism drawcard is being forced to shut its doors over a water waste system issue.
Emeraude in Hampton, north of Toowoomba, which featured in last year's delicious. 100 restaurant guide, will close its doors on August 9, claiming it can no longer trade as a fully operational venue because of a septic tank issue.
"It's just incredibly sad because it feels like having something dragged out from underneath you when you weren't ready for it," said chef and owner Amanda Hinds.
"It's completely gutting and devastating for the team of 25 people and our family and the people who support us and all the locals who are there on a daily basis."
Causing the problem is a water holding tank recently installed by the landlord that is not big enough to cope with the high volume of water the restaurant needs to operate.
"We've got this tiny little system for this massive amount of water that we put through," said Mrs Hinds.
"It was passed by the council and nobody took us into consideration and now we can't trade."
The casual restaurant with refined food had become a tourist hotspot and icon of the area since it opened three years ago, regularly attracting diners from up to four hours' drive away.
A loyal community of passionate locals then helped the business flourish during the COVID-19 closures as it switched to takeaway and operating as a bakery and produce supplier.
"Now we've got this beautiful big business which is in the middle of nowhere that is a drawcard for the whole of the Darling Downs region, and for farmers alike and all the people who survive off it, all the accommodation sector … and now it's like the catalyst disappears just because of this tiny issue," said Mrs Hinds.
The restaurant is currently operating as a takeaway and has had to make drastic changes to its procedures to reduce water consumption, but Mrs Hinds said those practises simply weren't viable if the restaurant was to run at regular capacity.
The family is now looking into legal action over the matter.
Originally published as 'Tiny issue' puts top restaurant out of business