FRESH START: Michelle and Peter Law with chef Lionel Mears.
FRESH START: Michelle and Peter Law with chef Lionel Mears. Vanessa Jarrett

New chef, new look for hotel

A RENOVATED restaurant and a new chef have made the perfect combination at the Top Pub Commercial Hotel Biloela.

Lionel Mears is the new chef at the hotel and lessees Michelle and Peter Law couldn't be more pleased.

"We are really happy to have Lionel on board,” Michelle said.

"I think we have a pretty damn good team now; right from the kitchen through to the front end.”

The old restaurant at the back of the hotel where the Thai restaurant used to be has now been renovated.

The area features a spacious dining area with plenty of dining tables, a kids area, air conditioning, large blackboards, windows and planter boxes on the walls.

"We have installed four split-system air conditioners because before it used to be really hot in summer and really cold in winter,” Michelle said.

Michelle and Peter have leased the hotel for five years now and are excited to have the new venture up and running.

"We just want to have a focus on being a really good family place to eat,” Michelle said.

"The pizzeria is still going but it is more of a takeaway thing, this is somewhere to come and sit down.”

Since taking on the chef position full-time last week, Lionel cannot wait to sink his teeth into the new restaurant.

"I want to make this the place in town to go,” he said.

"I want people to get a good feed, enjoy themselves and go home home happy.”

The chef has been in Biloela for 19 years now, first working at the Apollo motel.

He has moved around some businesses a bit, including Woolworths where he held a number of roles and learnt to bake.

He did baking for eight years, moving on and baking at IGA and Rise, a stint at Brisky's Butcher and most recently in the kitchen at The Countryman Motel.

Having worked there on and off for a number of years, Lionel is mostly known for his time at the RSL club.

"And hopefully a lot of my regulars and friends and family who know me will come in and try the new restaurant,” Lionel said.

The restaurant has been transformed into a Steakhouse, Steak@Tops.

"We are currently doing a new menu,” Lionel said.

"Because we are a steakhouse we are going to have everything from 150g rib fillet to 600g on the bone, so a lot of steak choices.

"A focus on steaks and quality meat with chicken, fish and pork selections.”

With some experience in the butcher industry, Lionel said he knows a good steak.

"I enjoy a good steak and I find it very hard to get a good one out,” Lionel said.

"It drives my wife nuts because I would rather just cook at home.”

Theme nights will also be on the agenda for the steakhouse.

"We are going to do Barra Mondays, T-Bone Tuesdays, Rump Day Hump Day, Barmy Parmy Thursdays and Crumbed Steak for Sundays,” Lionel said.

"Plus some amazing specials.”

Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, Lionel said the new kids area is a great addition for customers.

"We have a real focus on families with that kids area as well,” he said.

Lionel said the response to the steakhouse and his new position as the chef has been positive.

"So far it has been really good, a lot of people have recognised me and are quite happy to see me,” he said.

"It makes me happy to see them happy and enjoying themselves.”

Lionel hopes people will come far and wide to the new restaurant.

"Realistically I would like it to be full every night; if you don't book you don't get a table,” Lionel said.

"I want people to come and see what these guys have done with the restaurant; it's absolutely beautiful compared to what it was.”

"It will take time; I want word of mouth to spread, to say they have been out and had a good feed and to come back. "

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