IN what will come as great news to locals, and also be welcomed by visitors to Mildura, hotelier and hospitality entrepreneur Don Carrazza has announced that the The Spanish Grill is set to reopen.

The Mildura Food Group closed the business due to multiple impacts of the pandemic.

Also reopening will be the The Bistro and Bar.

All venues will reopen under new management and heading up the new team in charge is Melbourne businessman Raj Singh.

Mr Singh has been involved with the Grand Hotel for almost a decade, and is well known to Mr Carrazza.

Mr Singh said that he and Mr Carrazza had intervened quickly to secure a new deal, whereby a new company could be established to manage both spaces.

“We are really excited about this new venture,” Mr Singh said.

“We have been working with Don for the past nine years running the Grand Hotel and I think that this was the link that was missing. I think the hotel and The Spanish Grill coming together will complement each other.

“At the same time, I think the grill itself is iconic like the Grand and it has a strong following in the local market. People are obviously missing it since it closed.

“It’s great to open it up and we are feeling very positive about getting it going again.

“Importantly, we have Don’s support. That is really crucial and his advice has been invaluable.”

Mr Carrazza said: “These venues are significant assets in Langtree Avenue, our main food strip, and it would be a pity to keep them closed for any length of time.

“If one considers that The Spanish Grill was established on Deakin Avenue some 50 years ago, and the Red Lion Bistro about the same time, one can appreciate the long history of these venues, albeit through various owners and intermissions,” he said.

“It would be a sad day if these places were to close permanently.”

The new company will operate The Bistro as the hotel’s principal breakfast area, moving out of the chandelier room after a century or more. The new breakfast venue will be open to the public, not only hotel guests.

It will also be open for quick, informal lunches and functions or private group dinners at night.

The Grill will continue the fine tradition of providing meats cooked on charcoal as it has since 2003 and in its present location.

The new management plans to open the bistro seven-days-a-week, operating from 6am in the morning Monday to Friday for breakfast and lunch Saturday and Sunday.

On public holidays it will open from 7am.

The Spanish Grill will open six-days-a-week, with a 4pm to 6pm happy hour in the bar, after which, the grill will commence serving dinner.

In making this bold new management move, Mr Singh said his company was furthering its investment, not just in the Grand Hotel, but Mildura more broadly.

“This is probably one of the best regional towns. It has great diversity in what it produces and the businesses and service that are here are first rate. That’s what makes a town strong,” Mr Singh said.

“The timing is very crucial and six months ago we would have be wondering about taking this venture on amidst the COVID lockdowns, but now we are very confident going forward that this will be a great business for us to be involved in.

“We are looking to open the Bistro on November 8, and by December 1, we will have The Spanish Grill open.”

“Our group is committed to the Grand, and to Mildura, and we will soon advertise for positions for both venues. We will be seeking managers, chefs, bar and waiting staff.

“We have set up a specific company to manage the operations, and soon we will introduce ourselves to the suppliers and the community at large.”

By JOHN DOOLEY