Douglas eateries eager to welcome back diners


Karlie Brady


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Karen, Rebecca, Kat and Niels from St Crispins Cafe in Port Douglas are ready to welcome back customers. Image: Karlie Brady.

A number of Douglas restaurants and cafes will begin welcoming back dine-in customers as stage one of the gradual easing of restrictions kicks in from 11:59pm tonight.

St Crispins Café in Port Douglas is one of those eateries, opening their doors for the first time since 23 March, for dine-in and takeaway.

Owner Karen Jackson said it’s been a tough couple of months but all their staff are raring to get back into it.

“It's been terrible, for the staff and the business, we've struggled along just like every other restaurant in town really,” she said.

“I think one of the things that made all of this easier is that everybody is in the same boat, you're not dealing with this on your own.

“It's a relief to get back, not just for us, but I think it's a relief for the whole country that something is happening and at least they have given us a plan back.”

Ms Jackson said that on a positive note she has used the downtime to reinvigorate the café.

“We have done a big paint job, a big clean, repainted the chairs and the deck using the time that we would not have otherwise had because we trade seven days a week.”

Ms Jackson added that bookings are recommended as they are limited to ten patrons at a time in line with government regulations but they have plenty of open air space to allow for social distancing.

Everyone who dines in this weekend will also be treated to a free “St Crispin’s Mimosa” with their meal.

“Furry friends are welcome and we have a new “Grab and Go” for you to phone ahead if you prefer takeaway. All our regular menu items are available for take away too,” she said.

St Crispins will follow a COVID Safe plan which includes added hygiene measures, and taking customers contact details in case contact tracing is needed.

The ten-person limit on gatherings imposed by the state government has made the viability of running a business difficult and many of the larger Douglas restaurants have opted to remain closed until restrictions lift further.

“We’re going to give it a go but if we don't get enough people we may have to cut back a bit,” Ms Jackson said.

Another restaurant opening on a trial basis is Nautilus Port Douglas who will re-open for two special nights next weekend Friday 22 and Saturday 23 May.

With just 10 guests per night, Nautilus is aiming to create an intimate VIP experience, inviting guests to join in a decadent evening of isolated wining and dining, enjoying a new five-course degustation menu.

A spokesperson for the restaurant said for a truly special dining experience, a group of 10 friends could enjoy a private dinner party, their own personal chef and the entire restaurant for themselves.

“It’s been a long time between drinks so we’re hoping to give Port Douglas locals the opportunity to get out, shake off the COVID blues and join us in celebrating the easing of restrictions,” the spokesperson said.

“Should the trial go well, we look forward to more nights of dining, serving the local community until travel and tourism returns to Port Douglas.”

Other Douglas businesses welcoming back diners from tomorrow include:

• Cafe Fresq
• Zinc Port Douglas
• N17
• Beechwoods Café
• Pasta e Vino
• Watergate
• The Mexican Port Douglas
• Junction Café
• Toast Port Douglas
• The Tin Shed
• Chilly's Pizza & Trattoria
• Temptations Cafe Mossman

If your business missed out be sure to add it in comments below!

It has never been more important to support local businesses and in line with this, Council has launched the Buy Douglas: Build Douglas campaign, a community partnership designed to encourage people to spend their money with local businesses.

 Find out more: Buy Douglas: Build Douglas

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