Funky restaurant and bar closes, reports of thousands owing
SOUTHSIDE’S Alchemy tapas bar and restaurant has reportedly closed its doors for good, leaving behind a trail of debt to staff.
According to a former employee, who said she was owed at least four weeks’ wages, the owners were opening a second bar at Buderim, as Gympie staff await payment of thousands of dollars of outstanding wages
Alchemy Southside, which was promoted as serving up “the perfect elixir of food, cocktails and an unforgettable experience” at Southside Town Centre, had been operating for less than a year when it closed last Friday afternoon.
Staff closed the kitchen after food suppliers reportedly stopped trading with the flailing business, leaving dine-in customers up in the air, the employee said.
“We were unable to make half the menu without the stock – how could I run a kitchen?” one of chef’s in charge at the time said.
By 3pm staff had quit and the business was forced to close the doors, the employee said.
On Tuesday, Alchemy Southside did not reopen at its usual time, with no signage to explain why out the front of the store.
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The owners – Keith Stewart and Mitch Schultz, who were former roofing contractors from the Sunshine Coast – had not been available to staff since.
“Some staff (are) now completely jobless with nothing to their name,” the former employee said.
“Some of them are owed four digits worth of pay and are dependent on that to live and pay bills.
Mr Stewart and Mr Schultz opened the business in March, navigating through COVID-19 restrictions by offering takeaway.
The builders saw potential in the Gympie bar and restaurant scene and wanted to deliver an “elegant and classy space” that was an alternative to pubs and hotels, Mr Schultz said at the time.
The former chef, who has 30 years experience in the industry, said the business had been thriving until about six weeks ago.
“At the beginning it was a great little business, but how can we operate when people are not being paid?
“(The owners) saw a niche and filled it...it just fell apart.
“I’m just really sad and disappointed, because this didn’t have to happen.”
Now the restaurant owners have their sights set on a location in Buderim.
The pair, who trade as Virescit Vulnere Virtus Pty Ltd, registered the Jungle Bar for business on June 27, this year.
According to the new business’s Facebook page, the Jungle Bar at Buderim was still under construction at the start of the month but will open soon on Burnett St, with renovations almost complete.
They are looking to hire staff now.
The new establishment promises to be “Buderim’s hottest new venue with an electric atmosphere” that will operate as a restaurant, cocktail bar and cafe serving exotic food, the social media promotion says.
The Jungle Bar and Alchemy Southside have been contacted for comment.
There has been no response.