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Community & Business

1 April, 2021

New look Gillies Roadhouse open for business

After 9 years of commuting the 263 bends of the Gillies Range road twice a day, Alli Fielding of Lake Barrine, decided to look around for a project a little closer to home.

By Phil Brandel

New owner of The Gillies, Alli Fielding and her right hand man, cook and "Mr Wonderful," Leon Duff have spearheaded the 5 week redevelopment of the cafe which opened for business on Monday

After 9 years of commuting the 263 bends of the Gillies Range road twice a day, Alli Fielding of Lake Barrine, decided to look around for a project a little closer to home. She found the Altitude Cafe at the corner of Lake Eacham road and the Gillies Range, bought it 5 weeks ago and has been busy renovating it ever since.

 Driving past the site over the last few weeks, it has looked like one constant party going on. But Alli said she has had just about every kind of tradesman  working on the building. She has completely gutted the interior, repainted the whole place and refurbished the kitchen, with the help of local painters, builders, gardeners, cabinet makers and electricians.

 No stranger to the food business, Ms Fielding owns 2 Longevity restaurants in Cairns. Renowned for their healthy menus, the Cairns Central and Smithfield stores specialise in tasty and affordable food and pure fruit juices made from ethically sourced local produce. Her new cafe, which she has renamed 'The Gillies, Moments into Memories' will be open 7 days a week from 6am to 4pm.

 Alli Fielding says she is hoping to provide commuters with a hot brekky or just a coffee and roll to help get them down the hill each morning and an atmosphere where diners can sit a while and take a moment to relax. She now has a BYO license and is looking forward to weekenders dropping in for brunch or lunch and a glass of wine after spending time swimming or walking around the lakes nearby.

 There will be gluten free and vegan options, acai bowls of fruit and coconut yoghurt for breakfast, paninis, salads and home made cakes cooked in house, but the menu will be kept fairly broad to suit the situation. The one main point of difference will be a baked potato machine, front of house, offering something not sold elsewhere - perfectly baked potatoes with toppings of choice. The Gillies has a function room for parties and family gatherings and catering is available on site.

 The roadhouse opened Monday with a staff of 9, but Ms Fielding is still looking for more cooks, baristas and juniors in order to stay open for the extended hours of trading. She hopes eventually to work with the Vocational Partnership Group to offer work opportunities to disadvantaged applicants.

Growing up in the Lake District in the north of England and living for 9 years in Portugal and 3 years in Vietnam, Ms Fielding has a wide experience of cuisines and cultures. She will be using the roadhouse to showcase the history and uniqueness of the road named after former Queensland premier, William Gillies.

 The road that was commissioned by the Eacham shire and built using 10,000 pounds of government unemployment scheme funding, was begun in 1922 and had up to 150 men working on it at its peak. It was opened in July 1926 and was initially a one way road controlled by gates top and bottom. 



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