As its moniker suggests, the Boathouse Group has forged its reputation with a lip-licking collection of Sydney venues where diners can dangle their toes over water. But there's a tree change on the way.
With a positive review from Good Food for its latest venue at Rose Bay under its belt, the group has lodged amended plans with Hills Shire Council in recent weeks for a mega venue at Dural, in Sydney's north.
Boathouse Group founder Andrew Goldsmith says the venue will remain a nursery with a restaurant-cafe attached and it will also sell homewares.
When Boathouse Group ran into financial problems a few years ago, one of its white knight investors was a property group. It has snapped up Hargraves Nursery in Dural, which will open next year as Boathouse Nursery with a 120-seat cafe-restaurant attached.
"I grew up out that way and always felt there was scope for this sort of place," says Goldsmith. "Hargraves was a nursery for 47 years. The owners didn't want to see it turned into a service station or something like that. It suits us because plants and flowers are a big part of what we do."
The nursery will provide produce and products for Boathouse venues. "We've always had a dream to mix flowers and homewares," he says. "We'll be able to do things like our own plates and glasses."
When Boathouse Nursery opens next year, Sydneysiders can expect a country vibe to the new fitout, rather than the stylish coastal look of its other venues. Maybe even somewhere to tie up your horse?