Former head chef of The Vinyard Saul Collins will soon open his own restaurant along the Esplanade. Picture: Alistair Brightman
Former head chef of The Vinyard Saul Collins will soon open his own restaurant along the Esplanade. Picture: Alistair Brightman

Local seafood to shine with skilled chef’s new dining option

It’s been months in the making but Fraser Coast’s newest restaurant addition is in the works and tipped to open in March.

Headed by former Vinyard head chef Saul Collins, Banksia Seafood and Grill will offer the “best seafood and steaks” around.

The restaurant will fill the space that was left vacant by Irish pub Hoolihans on the Charlton Esplanade in 2019.

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Mr Collins and his partner Aleeca Waterman said the new dining option at Hervey Bay would provide a reawakening for seafood and steak lovers.

“I think Hervey Bay lacks a venue that people can go to and they know that all the seafood truly is local or Australian,” Ms Waterman said.

Aleeca Waterman and Saul Collins announce their new restaurant, Banksia Seafood and Grill.
Aleeca Waterman and Saul Collins announce their new restaurant, Banksia Seafood and Grill.

Since the pandemic closed The Vinyard indefinitely Mr Collins was in search of a new project.

The couple previously owned a boathouse restaurant in Warrnambool, Victoria called Proudfoots By the River, which they hope to recreate.

Ms Waterman said Mr Collins was a “real food” man who liked to make what produce he’s got taste great.

“We’ve worked in hospitality for a number of years and steak and seafood are the most popular items,” she said.

“He just likes to make food that people enjoy eating, so whatever produce he gets he just likes to make it taste as good as possible.”

They plan to open once the kitchen refit is complete.

Ms Waterman said they picked the Hoolihans site after reading an article in The Chronicle about the space.

“It’s a great location, it has a really nice sidewalk space.

“The feel will be beach house-like with Hampton-style whites and natural colours.”