Former UniCentre general manager Mike Gillmore is re-opening the site previously occupied by Three Chimneys as an all-purpose restaurant and live music venue on Saturday.
Mr Gillmore has worked in hospitality in Australia and overseas, and the university for 19 years. But he has spent the past two months refurbishing the space which will be known as Town Hall Chamber.
He wants the venue to help further activate the Arts Precinct and is opening from 7.30am for breakfast seven days a week, and lunch and dinner Wednesday to Sunday, as well as bar food until 10.30pm.
He has introduced a deli with cheeses and charcuterie, with a take-away service. The bakery has changed and will be known as Chamber to provide a quieter space for those who want that. It can be used for corporate events and functions for up to 30 people and for people to come and do work with access to free WiFi.
Mr Gillmore has employed 20 people including five permanent staff and provides work for local musicians.
Jack Willis is playing on Saturday night and singer songwriter Emalia will play at an opening celebration in a fortnight. The dance floor stays.
Mr Gillmore said he wants to create a versatile venue that is used across the day with “a bar, a cafe, coffee, a deli, entertainment and functions”.
Kayla McClelland who previously worked at Lee & Me and Beast & Bread is the head chef and has employed two chefs, an apprentice and two kitchen hands. She moved to Wollongong from Batemans Bay, where she worked at One The Pier Restaurant, five years ago and wants to use as much local produce as possible and support other small businesses in Wollongong. The menu is modern Australian with a European influence.
Mr Gillmore said he took out a long term lease on the site just prior to Christmas but wanted to take his time getting dining, bar, function and live music venue just right before opening. Three Chimneys originally opened in February 2014 but company behind the original Wollongong bar and cafe filed for administration in March 2015.
Venues working together
The new restaurant and music venue is opening exactly a fortnight after Howlin’ Wolf Bar changed owners and introduced a wider selection of whisky and beer.
Both venues are keen to work together with other nightspots and eateries around Wollongong to entice more people into the city centre.