Changing the way we dine
By Jack Hayes
Docklanders will be looking forward to a summer of alfresco dining as part of the City of Melbourne’s plan to wake the area from a COVID-19 slumber.
It is hoped this opening of our boulevards, promenades and streets to outdoor dining will be the relief so many hospitality businesses are after.
One Docklands stalwart and local identity looking to make the most of the fresh air will be Jeff Gordon from the Lady Cutler and Melbourne Showboat.
As he is not able to have more than 20 pa- trons on his boat at any one time, cruising the waterways has taken a back seat for Mr Gordon. As a result, he is “pivoting” from usual practice by turning the Lady Cutler into Docklands first floating beer and burger bar.
Burgers and Beers by the Pier will act as both a restaurant and live music venue bringing much-needed life back to the Harbour.
“We are still waiting on the council to give the final go-ahead for our outdoor dining lay- out, but we plan to open up the area between our berth and the Port Phillip Ferries cafeÌ for diners to enjoy what I believe are the best burg- ers in Docklands,” Mr Gordon said.
“We are open to the public between 4pm and 8pm seven days a week and if our COVID situation improves and allows us to have 50 or 100 people on the boat, we will able to cruise either side of those hours; which will mean cruises at lunchtime and then after 8pm for night-time cruising.”
As is the case for many businesses throughout Docklands, Mr Gordon and his team on the Lady Cutler have been decimated by the impacts of COVID-19.
“We’ve been locked down and non-operational for seven months, since the end of March. Sadly, in that time there has been zero business,” Mr Gordon said.
“And while business has stopped our costs to keep the boat on the water still keep coming, which is much the same for all charter boats on the Harbour.”
Although he admits it would be easy to wallow in the face of a once-in-a-generation public health disaster, Mr Gordon is excited for his newest jaunt into the world of burgers, beers and live music.
“I would find it hard to imagine any better celebration of surviving lockdown than enjoying great food and company on the water,” Mr Gordon said.
Along with the Lady Cutler, many businesses throughout Docklands will be taking to the pavement to expand their offering to locals.
According to Docklands Chamber of Commerce (DCC), venues who have applied for a $10,000 grant from the City of Melbourne to prepare themselves for outdoor dining include Steakhouse Grill 66, The Harbour Kitchen, Tataki noodles and dumpling, Urban Alley, BrewPub, Melbourne Star Observational Wheel, Souperman CafeÌ, Sir Basil Cafe & Restaurant, Sobo Japanese, Sassone Cucina, Cargo Restaurant Bar CafeÌ, Berth restaurant and events, TAP 831, Merchant Society and The HoF.