by Amber Hooker
THE hospitality "pedigree” of Headricks Lane owners Peter Hawkins and Benito Zussino won over decision makers to secure Rockhampton's exclusive restaurant space, The Pier.
Forging their way in the city's culinary scene with their high-end restaurant and brewery, the boys will serve up a completely new offering at what is to become Rockhampton's most prime piece of real estate.
The Morning Bulletin can exclusively reveal the pair leased the space on April 27, destined to be built come December by local contractor Woollam Constructions.
Rockhampton mayor Margaret Strelow (pictured) said the entrepreneurs were the perfect fit for the iconic building, which will become the centrepiece of the Rockhampton Riverbank Redevelopment.
"What particularly sold us on their proposal is the way they intend to service the whole riverbank precinct,” Cr Strelow said.
"They talked about having an app created that would allow customers to pre-order coffee and burgers, pick it up and sit on the riverbank.”
Full-panel glass walls create the illusion of a floating restaurant over the river, offering views on a wrap-around deck Cr Strelow hopes will be "crawling with people” looking to unwind of an evening.
The building features a 360sq m restaurant and bar extending over the Fitzroy River, with both indoor and alfresco dining, and is jointly funded by Rockhampton Regional Council, the State Government and the Federal Government.
Cr Strelow said council had made headway in fostering a growing food culture, having waived the outdoor dining fee for CBD restaurants and floating ideas of food trucks and pop-up restaurants on the purpose-designed Quay St.
She said she "hopes and dreams” many of the buildings on Quay St will follow the Pier's lead and accommodate more leisure activities; a relatively simple procedure with the necessary conduit laid for any building to connect to gas and convert to a restaurant.
"We have already set the scene to make it as affordable as possible to flourish in that precinct,” she said.
"But the Pier is the obvious beginning point for so much of that.”
While Cr Strelow could not reveal who else had battled it out for the coveted site, the leasing real estate agent Knight Frank revealed in March interest had come from a mix of local, national and international parties.
But the local boys won out and are expected to cement their place, with Cr Strelow stressing the importance of maintaining a consistent culture at the venue.
She has all the confidence of their success, having already proven their restaurateur prowess.
"Peter and Benito have proven their ability, not just in Rockhampton but the Light Box in Gladstone,” Cr Strelow said.
"They have a great pedigree for hospitality in the family, they are seasoned business people with proven runs on the board in the hospitality industry.”
Cr Strelow said the Pier will have to work "double-time” though as a family venue, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner while also tapping into the takeaway food and coffee market.
Work continues on the Riverbank Redevelopment with the second half of Quay St expected to be complete in time for July's River Festival, Denham St is expected to be complete by the end of November, and the Pier and low bank at the end of the year.