Chefs Inc closed for winter

CLEVELAND’S eating out precinct Chefs Inc has closed for winter, just three months after it opened.

The announcement was made on the venue’s Facebook page on Thursday morning.

“Closed for the winter, starting immediately! Thank you for all your support this far,” the post states.

The open-air venue attracted big crowds when it opened four months late in mid-March, missing much of the summer eating-out trade.

As cooler conditions struck over past weeks, numbers have dropped markedly.

The announcement follows days of speculation after a woman said family members were refunded their $2 entry fee when they left on Sunday night and were told the venue was closing. 

The woman said the employee said he was told by the boss to give everyone refunds as they were closing down and would not be open after Sunday night.

Another woman who had booked to hold a birthday party at the Cleveland venue on Saturday night was told in an email earlier this week the venue has closed.

The email was sent under the name Carol Oliver, who is understood to be a shareholder in the business.

“We are closed indefinitely and not sure what will happen after winter,” the email states.

Oliver Findlay, who is listed as the contact person for Chefs Inc on its website and was the project manager during the set up, said he had stepped away from the business and could not comment further.

A food outlet operator said they had heard the precinct might close.

When asked whether they would open on Friday, he said they were waiting for that to be confirmed.

Redland City Bulletin has tried repeatedly to contact founder Colin Mason and Ms Oliver via email and phone but neither has responded.

Controversy arose about the project when it was proposed, with restaurant surrounding owners complaining that it could cause existing businesses to go broke. Residents of nearby units also objected.

Councillors voted in favour of the proposal, saying that as long as it met planning conditions, they could not interfere.

The eat street-style project – in the Redland City Council car park behind the Cleveland library – opened about four months late due to delays caused when it was found the site had to meet state government laws regarding contaminated sites.

Food outlets operated from refurbished shipping containers. There was a bar, live music and seating for 600.

The venue was open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Councillors believed that so long as the project met planning conditions, they could not fairly interfere in the proposal on behalf of existing traders.