The old Rafters site in Guyra has seen its fair share of change and controversy over the years. Brisbane couple Joey and Michelle Arrabal are refusing to be perturbed by history however and are planning a revitalisation of the building and a restoration of the name Rafters to Guyra.
The Arrabals are well-versed in the hospitality industry and have travelled up and down the East Coast of Australia following their love of food. Their most recent venture has been a highly successful cocktail and tapas bar in Brisbane’s waterfront suburb of Brisbane.
Ms Arrabal tells us they are as much at home by the coast, as they are living in a country setting but, when they saw the Rafters building, “we just fell in love”.
They are now planning the reopening of the restaurant in mid-May as Rafters Café and Grill.
When asked why the Arrabals have chosen to return to the Rafters name the answer is both a matter of practicality and nostalgia.
“First of all, the site still appears as Rafters in a Google search”, says Ms Arrabal, “but more importantly, nothing else has worked as well as Rafters so why not embrace that part of local history”.
Mr Arrabal also comments that they want to respect the history of the building too, not only in the context of it being a much-loved establishment with many fond memories but also for the more recent and less pleasant memories some locals have of the site.
“We don’t want to come in and make a big song and dance straight away, we’d much rather come in, meet the locals, feel the town out and see what it needs. We want to form strong relationships with local businesses and the local community” says Mr Arrabal.
Having already set up a business page on Facebook, the Arrabals have already been overwhelmed with the positive response from the community.
“We’ve already got people making bookings,” Ms Arrabal says.
Mr Arrabal goes on to say that they’re very grateful for the fantastic response they’ve received so far.
“It just gives this amazing warm feeling and makes us even keener to get down to Guyra and get started.”
The Arrabals are in the process of moving to Guyra right now and say that they will hit the ground running as soon as they arrive, beginning first with some much-needed renovations, and then the important business of hiring staff.
Mr Arrabal is calling for any local cooks or chefs to contact them as soon as possible.
“We’ve had a great response to our advertisement for baristas and wait staff, but we’d love to hear from any local chefs, pastry chefs and cooks who might be interested in working with us.”
When asked if there will be a grand opening the Arrabals say no.
“We don’t feel that a grand opening would be appropriate given the history,” they say, “we’ll instead be running with a soft opening but very much hope to plan a fantastic event for the locals later in the year.”
Rafters is set to reopen from mid-May and the plan is to be open 7 days a week, with a café menu available during the day, and a restaurant menu available at night.
If you want to keep an eye out for any updates about the new Rafters Café and Grill, visit their Facebook page.
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