SNEAK PEEK: Iconic restaurant gets delicious makeover
LANDMARK Byron Bay seafood restaurant Fishheads has stood looking out over Main Beach for nearly 20 years.
According to owner Ralph Mamone this is pretty close to a record for Byron Bay, a place renowned for the high attrition rate for small businesses.
If ever there was a place to drink in the beauty Byron Bay life Fishheads is it.
The restaurant is arguably in the best location in town with a front row seat on the passing parade of people at the beach, surfers checking out the break from The Wreck car park and Apex Park with its fire twirlers and buskers in the evening and the moon rising behind Byron Bay lighthouse.
Now the restaurant has undergone a thorough revamp of its look, feel and menu.
"As a business we have to keep moving with the times to meet the expectations of a more discerning marketplace," Mr Mamone said.
"There are 160 food outlets between Ewingsdale and Suffolk Park so it doesn't matter if we do have one of the best locations we have to strive to continue as a market leader.
"We have to adapt what has been a successful formula to cater for diners that are more health conscious, may be vegetarian or vegan and who want sustainable and locally sourced produce as much as possible.
"As well as great dining its also about the theatre and the experience.
"We have re-thought the interior colours and furnishings creating a more relaxed and intimate feel, adding lounge seating and stools in some sections so diners can see up and out to the ocean.
"Food is now more just entrees, main course and dessert- we have added vegetarian and vegan options and more smaller dishes so diners can experience many more tastes."
Old favourites are still on the menu including the whole fish and traditional red meat dishes with Fisheads' ever popular seafood platter undergoing its own update.
"You can now design your own seafood platter, choosing from around 15 options," Mr Mamone said.
The restaurant's take away section has also gone up a notch with the introduction of restaurant standard dishes that go beyond just fish and chips offering a range of salads and grilled prawn dishes amongst others.
The historic restaurant is a unique Byron hybrid not only a five star dining experience and next level take away but the building is part of the Byron Municipal Pool with between 80000-90000 visitors each year.
"As manager of the pool I feel a sense of responsibility," he said.
"I look after the pool on behalf of the community who have needs and expectations regarding the facility.
"I have made no secret of the fact that I think this is a prison yard pool sitting in one of the best locations in the world.
"I would love to see the whole area upgraded one day and meanwhile our revamp of Fishheads is a great way to start."