Rice Boi expands as Wharf Mooloolaba nears 1million visitors a year

As The Wharf Mooloolaba nears its initial target of attracting 1 million people a year, the new Rice Boi Beer Garden is officially opening today.

The opening of the Rice Boi expansion, also comes almost two years to the day that award-winning Sunshine Coast restauranteur Tony Kelly opened the restaurant, which has developed a cult following.

“Our initial goal when we opened was to create a great neighbourhood restaurant that locals loved. I didn’t dream then that now we would be expanding to have a 400-seat restaurant,” Mr Kelly said.

“The Wharf is a great location and we really excited to expand so we can offer the river-side alfresco dining that is perfect for our region.”

The Wharf Mooloolaba co-owner Dirk Long said similarly the success of The Wharf came down to giving locals what they wanted.

“It’s almost three years since we started redeveloping the precinct and we have worked hard to create the perfect relaxed environment, as well as the right mix of restaurants, eateries, shops and activities, to attract locals and visitors alike,” Mr Long said.

“Numbers have been building steadily, particularly over the last twelve months, and we are now looking forward to our biggest summer season ever, which will take us to the million visitor a year mark.”

Mr Kelly said the Rice Boi Beer Garden would offer all the things that saw the restaurant listed in the Delicious Top 100 Restaurants in Queensland, in which it also took out the popular vote for Best Family Friendly restaurant.

“We will have the Rice Boi menu with more curries, more dumplings, more specials and there will also be 8 beers on tap including Kirin, national beers as well as some locals.

“There will be a great cocktail list as well as an Aperol Spritz menu – all perfect for the relaxed alfresco dining we have added.

Mr Kelly said internally the expansion also included more kitchen space, a dedicated dumpling-making section, larger cold room and prep spaces.

“We have grown from a team of 18 two years ago to 65 now so we are excited to open the Beer Garden and welcome even more people in.”

Rice Boi and the Rice Boi Beer Garden is open from 11.30am to 9pm daily with no reservations. Function bookings are available for groups of 20 or more.

Mr Long said 2020 would be another huge year for the Precinct as a whole, with the refurbishment and expansion of the Hogs Breath building, the Tower, the upstairs area and the opening of the Wharf Alley which would include even more food offerings,

“The Alley, which runs from the carpark through to the courtyard, will open around Easter and include a great mix of food that people can share at communal seating in the Alley or throughout the precinct,” Mr Long said.

“We will make an announcement in the new year about the eateries coming in, but it will include the reopening of Tony’s Saltwater Fish and Chippery, which closed to make way for the Rice Boi expansion.” To stay up to date on everything happening at The Wharf Mooloolaba, check out the website – www.wharfmooloolaba.com.au – and follow The Wharf Mooloolaba and Rice Boi on Facebook or Instagram.

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