An artist's impression of what Shelly Beach Cafe may look like once it's built.
An artist's impression of what Shelly Beach Cafe may look like once it's built.

RSL head chef reveals plan for new beachfront restaurant

THE Shelly Beach Cafe could be open as soon as Christmas if all goes to plan.

The East Ballina beachfront site, which is a block of concrete after a fire destroyed the former cafe, will be transformed into a restaurant fit to serve 120 people.

The Section 68 application was approved last week, allowing Ballina Shire Council workers to prepare the site for development.

The next piece of the puzzle is the construction certificate, and once that is approved, the building will come together.

"All going to plan in the next month or two, we should be starting the construction process," co-owner Blake Seymour said.

"The dream is to get in there before Christmas.

"Whether that does happen with COVID-19 remains to be seen."

Mr Seymour, who is also the head chef at Ballina RSL and has worked at prestigious restaurants across the globe, is looking forward to heading up his own restaurant.

"We'll be serving those crowd favourites, different cuisines from all over the world," he said.

"Local seafood will be a highlight.

"We hope to source a lot of local produce, for breakfast we will use local breads, butter, eggs, vegetables and fruits."

The vision for the venue is eclectic.

"It will be a place you can walk off the beach with no shoes and sandy feet and get served," he said.

"You can also come in for a sophisticated dinner or afternoon drinks with friends. We will be hosting functions and wedding receptions too."

On their tender proposal to council, the now owners acknowledged the site's natural beauty as its greatest asset, and pledged an environmental approach to operations.

"Our focus extends far beyond the walls of the building," the proposal said.

"What makes the site a landmark - a coastal splendour - is what has made us determined to seek out better ways of minimising food and takeaway packaging waste. Surrounding land will be cleared of weeds and introduced species by our dedicated team and we will revegetate with natives to revitalise the natural aesthetic of the site."