Gallery cafe bid goes to councillors
AFTER remaining closed for almost a year, the Lismore Regional Art Gallery cafe may soon re-open.
Lismore City Council will decide on Tuesday night whether to approve a proposal by award-winning chief Perry Hill and his business partner Sally Lewington to take over the site.
The cafe has remained empty since October 2010 after the council twice failed to find a suitable lessee. This followed a decision by the operators of the then Left Bank Cafe, Rebekka and Gianpiero Battista, not to submit a tender for the site due to family reasons.
After the second tender failed to find a lessee Mr Hill and Ms Lewington approached the council to take over and fully refit the cafe.
If councillors accept the proposal, the new cafe’s opening hours will reflect the hours of the art gallery and provide quality dining.
“The food will be sourced from local growers and producers, supporting the local community and organic movement,” the council papers say. “Sopare will serve high-quality dishes with warm yet efficient service at affordable price points that fit in with the local demographic.”
Mr Hill is a multi-award winning chief who recently moved back to the Northern Rivers, where he grew up.
Most recently he was executive chef at The Point in Ballina, and has also cooked at Sydney’s acclaimed Chef De Partie and London’s River Cafe.
Council staff are supporting the bid despite a reduced rental and outgoing return for the first three years of the lease.
The lack of a cafe has led to a drop in visitors to the gallery during the past year.