Country pubs need good food too

A Gippsland publican has enjoyed a big turnaround at his latest pub, and lauds the value of quality tucker and good beer.

Taking over the Meeniyan Hotel last June, new owners the Willcocks were planning a new food and beer offering and to use the coming winter period to familiarise themselves with the local market.

“Food quickly became the focus, with patrons driving up to 40 minutes for a meal,” Greg Willcocks told PubTIC.

“This demonstrates the importance of serving good food in any pub these days.”

Re-assessing plans for their budget renovation, the family changed tack to enhance the dining facilities and include outdoor seating with street frontage.

Despite the modest outlay at this stage, which included the new deck and painting the exterior for the first time in three decades, the locals are buzzing about the “major improvements” at the historic pub.

Once inside, patrons have taken to the enthusiastic service, new menu, and shiny new Lancer beer system attracting curious beer-loving locals of all ages.

The Willcocks still plan to upgrade the accommodation, which Greg says will be an important part of cash flow during the colder months, as well as install wind breaks and shade for the deck and fit the kitchen with new equipment to cope with the increase in trade.

The lift in business has been a clear sign to the veteran hoteliers that it is not only city-slicker patrons that are hungry for better grub.


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