Restaurateur feeling chipper about his newest plan
A MACKAY businessman will return to his roots when he opens a new fish and chip shop in the city centre in coming days - his third hospitality business in Mackay CBD.
Danny Papaioanou, who owns and manages Let's Do Greek and Adora Cafe, is set to open the doors of The Blue Sea Fish Bar in Victoria Street in early February.
It's across the road from the Whitsunday Hotel, which has Mr Papaioanou dreaming of reviving the ageing pub as his next "passion project".
The Whitsunday Arcade store will be named after the Wagga Wagga family fish and chip shop Mr Papaioanou was raised in as a child.
"Mum went to hospital and had me, and two or three days later I was laying in the cot in the back of the fish and chip shop," he laughed.
"I spent the first 15-16 years of my life in my old man's fish and chip shop, The Blue Sea Milk Bar.
"Hospitality runs in my blood. I love dealing with customers, making customers happy. I thrive for that."
Mr Papaioanou, supported by his wife Marina, is banking on his new business making quite a mark on the city centre, which has faced some challenging economic conditions in recent years.
"My other businesses are going good, they're busy, and that's what gave me the confidence to open a third business - a perfect trifecta," he said.
"The local customers here are learning they get good service and good products from us."
Mr Papaioanou is promising fresh-cut, double-cooked hot chips and potato scallops, top-quality fish and a traditional atmosphere, backed by friendly customer service.
The Blue Sea Fish Bar will seat "about 25 or so" people and will be open seven days a week, from sit-down breakfast to dinner.
"Greeks know what they're doing with fish and chips," Mr Papaioanou said, evidently proud of his heritage.
"And the customers want volume too.
"We don't believe in stinginess."
Four new jobs will be created, on top of the 18 positions Mr Papaioanou has filled at his current businesses.
He believes The Blue Sea's imminent opening comes as confidence continues to creep back into the city centre.
He said the number of shops closing down in recent times was down to "complacency" - a reliance on the big bucks rolling through the city centre in the midst of the resources boom.
But Mr Papaioanou reckons a bit of business know-how, combined with happy staff and tasty food, is a combination that can't fail.
"What I've found is that people in business in Mackay prior to what we call the boom ... are the ones who cry the most today," he said.
"I opened in the bottom of everything, when everyone was crying doom and gloom. It was the best time to open, with good rates on rents, lots of staff to choose from.
"I find a lot of positivity coming out now though."