It is the end of a chapter for Kyneton star Source Dining, though not for a lack of patronage.
Owner Tim Foster announced the restaurant's closure via social media on Monday, saying "with the constant exhausting search for experienced staff to maintain this quality dining, and another business that is taking more and more of our time, now feels like the right time to make a change."
Foster says the decision to close the regional Victorian restaurant, which has consistently held one hat in the Good Food Guide for the past eight years, was extremely challenging.
"The sad thing is, it's a good business," he says, "but we must have spent almost $3000 advertising for staff since December and just had nothing from it."
Foster, who took over Bendigo's historic Gold Mines Hotel in December 2018, says that a year ago, he had every intention of continuing Source when the lease came up for renewal.
But the pressure of covering shifts for missing staff has taken its toll. "It has just been getting harder and harder, and I would hate to lose the staff that we have," Foster says.
But Kyneton's loss is Bendigo's gain. Foster and restaurant manager Steven Gerdes (ex Dogs Bar, Macedon Wine Room) will focus their energy on the Gold Mines Hotel.
Most full-time staff from Source will transfer to the Bendigo business and Foster plans to introduce the polished service and seasonal menus that made Source's name to one of the pub's many dining rooms.
Foster says he didn't want a long goodbye at Source, and the business has already closed. However, he hopes someone will take the opportunity to continue the restaurant's story. The business is for sale as a going concern.