THE iconic Tea and Treasures house on William Street, Port Macquarie, has been transformed into new digs by owner Dano Clucas and partner Tash Olynick.
Mr Clucas bought the house from Trish and John Tracey in August with a vision in mind for a new café-restaurant called Bandwagon.
They opened the doors two weeks ago and have created 15 jobs in the process, with plans to hire more staff over the Christmas period.
Mrs Tracey is the former owner and handed over the keys to Mr Clucas on August 23.
“It’s the end of our dream and now we are handing it over so someone else can have theirs,” Mrs Tracey said. “The Port Macquarie community has been fantastic. We have a lot of gratitude.”
Mr Clucas will be the fifth owner since the house was built 95 years ago. His vision of turning the space into a café with a vision of extended hours a few nights a week as a restaurant is now a reality.
The renovations took three months and involved opening up the entire floor plan – but rest assured much of the history remains.
“Pretty much everything you see has been recycled,” Mr Clucas said.
“The bar top is from the old studs that we took out from the walls, the front of the bar is the old mahogany weather boards that we sanded back, the booths are the old boardwalk from Sea Acres and the shelves are from the fish co-op.
“We’ve tried to keep the flavour of the old house. We have basically recycled everything.”
The panelling around the walls mimic what the previous owners had in the tea house, so regular visitors of the old establishment should be impressed with the look.
Despite the long renovation hours – 14 hours a day, seven days a week – the response from the community has been positive.
“The response has been really overwhelming. We’re kept really busy, but the feedback has been really positive,” Miss Olynick said.
“People are returning every day, we’re seeing familiar faces and it has been a positive vibe. We’re filling big shoes with Trish and John who are really loyal to the tea house, but we wanted to put our own spin on it.”