THE husband and wife team behind hugely popular catering company Beauty and the Beard have been busy cooking up Gympie’s latest one-of-a-kind dining venue, a barbecue smokehouse.

Jarrod and Lauren Dangley celebrated the opening of The Bunker Smokehouse and Bar this week, after a busy few months of renovating the space and creating a brand new menu.

After seeing the success they had with their barbecue brisket and ribs at events with their catering company, Jarrod and Lauren began searching for a permanent location to open a restaurant.

Jarrod and Lauren Dangley, owners of The Bunker and Beauty and the Beard Eats and Events.
Jarrod and Lauren Dangley, owners of The Bunker and Beauty and the Beard Eats and Events.

“At the end of last year we decided we needed to find a venue, and we were sort of looking at doing that brewery model, like a shed, with barbecue out the front,” Jarrod said.

In March, Jarrod said the coronavirus “halted everything overnight” and he knew they had to pivot their business to stay afloat.

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“We started doing takeaway events. The first one we threw sold out in three hours, and it was all online bookings.

“That carried on for a little while, and we could do mobile takeaway in Gympie and down the Coast.”

Jarrod said he will have a range of top notch whiskeys behind the bar, as well as a selection of rum, ciders, wine and beer on tap.
Jarrod said he will have a range of top notch whiskeys behind the bar, as well as a selection of rum, ciders, wine and beer on tap.

During this time they kept looking for a venue for The Bunker, and when they were shown the Mary St location they “fell in love.”

“We were hammer and tongs for two months to make it happen and get everything set up,” Jarrod said.

“We’ve done a heap of work, painting, just changing the whole lot.

“My wife has worked tirelessly, all of this is her vision.”

What you need to know:

  • WHAT: Classic barbecue favourites, bar snacks, and craft beers on tap
  • WHERE: 250 Mary Street, ground level, entry and parking from Reef Street.
  • WHEN: Thursday-Friday 11am-8pm, Saturday 11am-9pm, bar open late.
  • TAKEAWAY: Full takeaway menu available to order now
  • DINE-IN: From Saturday, September 26 dine-in bookings will be open, book by messaging The Bunker on Facebook

Perfectly located in the town’s CBD, the The Bunker has a classic underground vibe, with dark walls and exposed brick features, and the smell of smoky barbecue wafting out into the street.

As for the menu, customers can expect the pair’s famous barbecue classics, like brisket and ribs, as well as some exciting additions.

“We’ve also got a ‘Bunker Eats’ menu, which is more about bar snacks, but we’re changing it up a bit,” Jarrod said.

The Bunker dining room was Lauren’s vision.
The Bunker dining room was Lauren’s vision.

“I’m all about simple food that’s done really well, and we’re all of that same opinion.”

He’s referring to his new team of employees and his “awesome” chef, Matt.

“We have six employees at the moment, but I think we’ll need to go to eight pretty quickly,” he said.

“We’ve got a really awesome chef team in there which is big for me.

“Up until now I’ve cooked every piece of brisket we’ve ever sold, so it was cool for me to be able to go ‘OK guys, I need to go to the next part of the business’.”

Jarrod said he glad to be passing the torch to new chef Matt.
Jarrod said he glad to be passing the torch to new chef Matt.

Jarrod said he tried to include as many local products as he could, especially behind the bar.

“We’ve teamed up with Terella Brewing, we’ve got them and 10 Toes on tap,” he said.

“I’m focusing a bit on some cool whiskeys, we’ve got a good range back there.

“I might end up with Dimi’s Diablo ginger beer.”

He also is hoping to work with Pomona Distilling Co. gin, and Graham Kidd from Gympie’s Latitude 26 Brewery.

One feature of the venue that stands out is the striking portrait of a man looking over the dining room.

Jarrod and Lauren Dangley with the portrait of her late-father, Jim.
Jarrod and Lauren Dangley with the portrait of her late-father, Jim.

Jarrod said he and Lauren teamed up with an artist to bring their logo to life, and they decided to include a portrait of Lauren’s late-father, Jim.

“She was massively close to him, we wouldn’t be here without Jim,” he said.

“It’s good, he’s on the wall looking over us here.”

Jarrod said once a month on a Sunday they would be hosting “rib days”, and he was planning on hosting degustation events, and “eat street style” nights in the carpark in the future.

The Bunker is open now for takeaway, and dine-in will be opening from Saturday, September 26, with bookings available through The Bunker Facebook page.

Gympie Times


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