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Lessee hoping to finish on top

Thursday, 4th August, 2011

TOP OF THE TOWN: The Broken Earth Cafe on the Line of Lode. TOP OF THE TOWN: The Broken Earth Cafe on the Line of Lode.

Applications for the lease of the Broken Earth cafe and shop on the Line of Lode closed last week and the current holder is hoping to win it again.

In May, Crown Lands, which owns the Line of Lode restaurant and shop, announced it was looking for expressions of interest for the operation of the $1.84 million complex.

Local publican John Groenendijk holds the lease for the Broken Hill Earth Cafe, which seats up to 60 people, and the shop.

Mr Groenendijk, who is also the licensee of the Southern Cross Hotel, said he took over the Line of Lode lease in December last year, knowing it was for the short term .

He said he did not know how many people, other than himself, applied but he wouldn’t be surprised if there were a number of applicants.

“I guess as the incumbent lessee, we have a foot in the door which gives us a slight advantage. We have been working with Crown Lands since December and I would envisage that we have insights that other applicants wouldn’t have,” he said.

Once all the submissions have been looked over a shortlist of lessees will be made.

“They create a shortlist and extract more details (about the business plan),” Mr Groenendijk said.

He said the application was “fairly intricate”.

“We provided a full business plan with a cash flow projection and details of our (other) business,” he said.

Mr Groenendijk said the restaurant and shop had been well run during his time as lessee.

The changes made to the restaurant were subtle and had a focus on locals and tourists, he said.

“It has been a very good result. We love it up there.

“I would be disappointed if we didn’t get into the final shortlist.”

He said that the Line of Lode was an important part of Broken Hill and the operators would need to know the restaurant trade and the needs of the community.

“You need to have a passion and drive to make it work, someone there who knows the market.”

“It is iconic. It is the first thing people see,” he said.

Submissions closed last Friday.

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