Char Char Bar and Grill is one of two new eateries and bars about to open in Harbour Street, Wollongong.
Sydney restaurant owner George Geagea and Wollongong businessman Charlie Daoud have taken over the street-front commercial premises at the new Western Grandstand with two new restaurants and bars boasting large covered alfresco dining areas as well as inside dining.
Both are based on concepts developed by Mr Geagea who wanted to bring something new to Wollongong that would complement its growing, more cosmopolitan dining scene.
He also wanted to create a dining and bar strip near the beach.
Chargoal features a takeaway and a restaurant area with Mediterranean-style food all cooked on charcoal and Char Char Bar and Grill features modern Australian cuisine with South African influences including the wine and beer.
At Char Char, manager Tony Maia is getting ready for a VIP launch this week after hosting a corporate function last week and is then preparing to open the new restaurant and bar to the public on October 16.
‘‘I’m from Sydney where I opened quite a few venues,’’ he said. ‘‘I met George a while ago and he spoke about this and did I want to come down and do it?
Mr Maia has worked at restaurants such as Icebergs at Bondi and Argyle but was amazed at the level of interest in the hospitality positions at Char Char Bar and Grill.
‘‘We are going to have 10 to 12 staff in total front of house and about five to seven kitchen staff,’’ he said.
‘‘There were probably about 300 applications for front of house.
‘‘I shortlisted it down to about 40 people I interviewed and we have seven on now. I wanted to hire all local talent and those most interested in learning. A lot of people are asking when we are opening ... they are looking in at night because our lights look really good.’’
Wollongong's new frozen yoghurt self-serve store Clique Brothers raised more than $1200 for beyondblue at the start of Mental Health Month on Friday and Saturday when it gave everyone free yoghurt in exchange for a donation.
Nick Fabrio and Himi Perera said interest really took off in Market Street on Saturday.
‘‘I am pleased to say we raised roughly $1268 over the two days and probably had 600 to 700 people through our doors,’’ Mr Fabrio said.
Lantern of hope
Illawarra residents are being asked to shine with hope this Friday to help create a future free from blood cancer.
University of Wollongong’s McKinnon Pond is the place to gather at twilight with family and friends from 5.30pm to shine a lantern of hope to create a brighter future for people with leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma.
The Leukaemia Foundation’s Light the Night features different coloured lanterns of hope for people to hold, gold to remember someone, white for their own journey or blue to support others. Further information at lightthenight.org.au or on 1800 500 088.
Strategic Community Assistance to Refugee Families (SCARF) has thanked everyone who supported this year’s ART4refugees Charity Art Show at TIGS.
Volunteer organisers Benita Andrews and Jane Coburn said the response was a great help to the organisation that helped hundreds of refugees each year.
‘‘It was a huge success, raising just over $22,000 for SCARF,’’ Mrs Andrews said.
‘‘In this current economic and political climate, it was humbling to see the groundswell of community support for our newest Australians, and for SCARF who receives no recurrent government funding.’’
Bank’s top award
Bank of Queensland’s Wollongong branch was named the top performing branch of its size at BOQ’s national sales conference.
BOQ Wollongong owner manager Raj Lingam picked up the Fit4Biz Award for business performance, service and quality and said the whole team deserved recognition.
A free structured business support program for businesses called Economic Gardening Illawarra starts next week.
Applications close this week for businesses in Shellharbour, Kiama and Wollongong and then from October 15 workshops will be held by specialists on topics such as strategy formulation, financial management, customer relationship management, digital strategy and online marketing and advanced marketing techniques. Further information on 4221 6030.
A SERIES of free digital workshops started yesterday to help small to medium-sized enterprises and not-for-profit organisations create and maintain a digital presence before Christmas.
Regional Development Australia Illawarra’s Digital Enterprise Program co-ordinator Leigh Jewiss said they were designed to help businesses better use the internet to increase sales traffic, improve productivity and find new customers. Further information at www.illawarradigital.com.au.