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HomeFoodGusto to close as new operators move in

Gusto to close as new operators move in

A new operator has been appointed to run the café, currently known as Gusto, at South Curl Curl Surf Life Saving Club.

The successful candidates are Anna and Shahid Rahman, who currently run the  Fish Face Cafe in Balgowlah, and formerly Little Viet Kitchen in Manly, which was liquidated after complications around a dispute over water leak repairs and an unpaid water bill.

The already popular South Curly venue will now be known as ‘The Beach Eatery’.

“The quality of the submissions was very strong”, said South Curl Curl SLSC President, Matt Campbell. “A rigorous assessment process for both non-price and price components resulted in a cohesive ranking of the proposals, including benefits to the local community and SLSC club. A shortlist of candidates was then recommended to be interviewed for final selection. The process also provided us with current market insights, including recommendations for improvements at such an iconic location as South Curl Curl Beach.”

The new owners of the South Curl Curl cafe business. Shahid and Anna Rahman. Photo: Kim Smee

The Rahmans had experienced some ups and downs in past business ventures (Little Viet Kitchen, Manly now in liquidation), but were very open with the South Curl Curl SLSC committee during the review process. The committee said it contacted past suppliers, community leaders and others before coming to their final decision.

“As soon as we read (about the tender), we jumped at the opportunity and started to prepare a detailed proposal for submission,” Shahid said.

The new operators officially start today, 1 May,  but have already been working in the café for a week to get to know the regulars. “

“We really want to meet local patrons and discover from their perspective, what’s already working and what can be improved. It’s all about giving our customers what they want”, said Shahid. “In the meantime, the cooperation of all staff and suppliers, as well as the outgoing operators, Lisa and Brendan, has made the transition very smooth.

Manly Observer understands the former operators (Gusto) had initially given notice of their departure but later decided to apply for the tender. We understand they will now do some travelling.

Lisa said they were “Sad to leave but looking forward to a holiday and then will look for a new site.”

What will change?

“There’ll be no major changes immediately. The venue does need a little TLC, but we’ll tweak things over time and probably carry out some refurbishment over winter, once we’ve received feedback from our customers,” Shahid said.

“We’ll tweak things over time and probably carry out some refurbishment over winter, once we’ve received feedback from our customers.”

“We’re taking a sensible approach to our new tenure, retaining all current staff and existing suppliers. Most importantly, we’ll still be sourcing our coffee from Seven Miles Coffee Roasters in Manly Vale. We’re firm believers in keeping everything local. We ourselves are a local, family-owned small business that prioritises the community, local jobs and locally sourced food at the core of our operations.”

Anna and Shahid are repaying the goodwill shown by Lisa and Brendan by firstly ensuring that all staff are kept on. In fact, there’ll still be a link to Gusto, with Lisa and Brendan’s daughter staying on to work at the cafe. “No-one is losing their job”, said Shahid. “And we’re also purchasing all existing stock from Gusto”.

While customers won’t notice major changes straight away, the Menu will be reviewed.

“It’s been and continues to be a busy time for us”, said Shahid. “At the moment our working day starts around 5.30am and doesn’t finish ‘til 11pm as we talk to suppliers and staff, sort insurance, etc. But it will all be worthwhile as we continue to engage with regular customers and other local residents, find out what they want from their favourite local cafe and provide them with a wonderful venue that we hope will keep growing in popularity.”

Matt Campbell thanked the previous operators for their commitment to the SCC Cafe over past years. “We wish Lisa and Brendan the very best in their new endeavours”, said Mr Campbell. “And now we’re excited about the new Beach Eatery at South Curl Curl with Shahid & Anna already talking to regulars and locals as well as SLSC club members about how they can best serve the community moving forward.”

The new agreement covers five years plus a three year option, subject to a rent review.

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Manly Observer is an experiment in providing non-sensationalist hyperlocal news on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We cover the big news across the LGA, but with a hyper focus on the Manly electorate encompassing Balgowlah, Seaforth, Freshwater, Brookvale and Curl Curl up to Dee Why. It is run by those living in the community for the benefit of an informed community. We care about an informed and connected community. That’s it. Simple. Thank you for your support in keeping quality local news alive!

Kim Smee, Editor

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