Big move for The Rustic Olive restaurant

Published 10:30am 8 March 2024

Big move for The Rustic Olive restaurant
Words by Kylie Knight

Much-loved The Rustic Olive Italian restaurant at Redcliffe will move from its home of 12 years in the coming months.

Owner Sam Ayache, who opened the restaurant at its original Redcliffe location 17 years ago, says it will move a little further up on Redcliffe Pde to the former ERA Bar location at the corner of Baker St.

The timing of the move to the larger location, with bigger street and water frontage, will depend on how long it takes to reconfigure the kitchen and make changes to the dining space to add warmth and comfort. The new restaurant is likely to open at the end of May or early June.

In the meantime, The Rustic Olive will remain open at its present location, 79 Redcliffe Pde.

Sam says the decision to move came about as he was considering what direction he needed to take the business in and the owner of the former ERA Bar building was looking for a new tenant.

“My lease was coming up and I though there’s an opportunity to do something different or I could have a look and see if there’s a better venue somewhere on the waterfront,” Sam explains.

“It was meant to be. It really was. For me, it was a new challenge I needed for the next five or 10 years. I approached my senior staff and said, ‘what do you think?’ and they said, ‘that will be great’.”

When The Rustic Olive makes the move, it will be licensed but BYO will still be an option for customers who prefer to bring their own alcohol.

“I’m not changing the concept I have here whatsoever. I’m only adding on a licence to it,” Sam says.

He believes the new venue will be more comfortable for diners with tables spaced out and in sections, airconditioning, less noise and better facilities.

“It’s easy for me to do my own touches on it and bring it up to what we want for our customers. It’s all a tick,” Sam says.

“It still has the magnificent view, higher up … even from the back of the restaurant you can still see the water.”

Opening hours and the menu will remain the same, but Sam is considering opening on Tuesday nights and for lunch on Thursdays at some stage.

He’s planning a cocktail menu, with that section of the restaurant to open in between meal service times with a bar menu.

Sam says managing the restaurant’s takeaway and delivery services will be easier at the new site.

Big move for The Rustic Olive restaurant

New chapter ahead

Leaving the site which has been the popular restaurant’s home for 12 years will come with mixed emotions for Sam and his team.

“It’s a lot of inner sentiment for a lot of people,” he says.

“A lot of staff have been with me for a long time too and it becomes their home … but it’s a new challenge we all want.

“You sort of feel like you’ve won something. You’re looking forward to that challenge, looking forward to putting it all together and seeing everybody’s faces and satisfying people in a different way.

“I’m a believer in things happening for a reason. I think it’s just the right time.”

For Sam, this is an exciting next phase for The Rustic Olive.

“It will be good to see The Olive in a new, modern way. You have to keep up. That’s the most crucial thing to keep up with modern changes,” he says.

Sam says he has been blessed to have wonderful staff who are as passionate about providing delicious food and outstanding customer service as he is.

He says their shared vision go with them when they move just up the road.

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