Erin Williams and Brooke Reid behind the counter at Bargara Berries Cafe, which they are pleased to have reopened.
Erin Williams and Brooke Reid behind the counter at Bargara Berries Cafe, which they are pleased to have reopened. Brian Cassidy

'WE'RE STILL OPEN': New lease saves cafe from shutting

IT'S out with the old and in with the new at Bargara Berries Bar and Cafe.

The popular restaurant has brought back some of its old school items that were listed on the menu more than eight years ago, when original owners Bob, 70, and Lynn Hay, 68, first opened their doors.

The tasty blast from the past was prompted by the cafe's very recent change in management, which saw the Hays hand over the reigns to long-time cook Erin Williams, 33, and barista Brooke Reid, 21.

"We are pretty much family, I've known them for years," Ms Reid said.

"We wanted to help them out and do what was best for Bob and Lynn. Plus, everyone was going to miss our strawberry pancakes."

The NewsMail previously reported the well-known eatery would be shutting up shop on Fathers Day, after the Hays announced they were putting the business up for sale the following week.

To the relief of loyal customers and tourists, however, Ms Reid and Ms Williams were approached by the owners on what was supposed to be the cafe's last day of trading and asked whether they'd like to run the business on behalf of the Hays.

"They asked us if we wanted to lease the cafe. It was quite a relief for them when we said yes. They were so pleased," Ms Reid said.

Ms Williams has been a cook at the restaurant most famous for its strawberry pancakes for 12 years.

Ms Reid has worked as a barista at the cafe for less time, but said she was a very experienced business person.

"I ran a business down in Brisbane and co-owned one with my dad too," she said.

"For now we're leasing for Bob and Lynn, we're not sure how long that'll last. Could be three months or three years until the freehold (which includes the business) is sold.

The Hays came out of retirement in July, after making the tough decision to resume their roles in running the business.

About three weeks after reopening the cafe's doors, Mr Hay told the NewsMail while it was probably not the right time of their lives to run a busy cafe, he felt it had to be done.

"We decided to (come back) and spend some money on it. We wanted to get it going and then sell it down the track," he said.

Ms Reid confessed the effort that had gone in to sprucing up the place was a driving factor behind her and Ms Williams's decision.

"We didn't want to see it close after all the work they put in," she said.

"Their health just wasn't great to go on."

The new and improved 'retro' menu includes seafood crepes, open grill sandwiches, Canadian pancakes and banana butterscotch pancakes.

The cafe is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 8am-4pm and is taking bookings for functions.



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