Six months on, after opening their stunning modern steak restaurant in an historic building in the Ipswich CBD, the family behind the Bakehouse Steakhouse say Ipswich’s warm embrace of their venture was exactly what they’d dreamed of.
“The one thing about Ipswich that we’ve always known it’s probably the strongest community focussed place you’re going to find,” manager Nick Stevenson said.
“We knew that if we do our best we’ll be supported and it’s been nothing short of that.
“The support of the other operators too, places like Rafter & Rose and Heisenberg Haus, has been amazing.
“As the city grows we want to be growing with it. Where it’s going in the next five years is very exciting.”
Bakehouse Steakhouse opened in the old Halley’s Bakery building on the corner of Darling and West streets late in 2018, bringing a menu of premium cuts to the Ipswich dining scene and a designer fit-out that manages to maintain the heritage bones of the building.
“We’re still learning and we’re continuing to make little tweaks to the menu but we’ve really spent the last six months listening,” he said.
“For example, a lot of people were asking for an eye fillet or a smaller cut so we’re introducing an eye fillet to the menu. There’ll be new sides coming in for spring and new cocktails.”
At the other end of the scale, they’ve also introduced a huge 1.2kg Angus Tomahawk – not for the faint hearted – but it’s already had plenty of takers, even with the $100 price tag (served with salad greens and endless fries).
“It’s the feedback from the customers that drives us to continue to evolve,” he said.
Special regular nights such as T-Bone Tuesday and Wagyu Wednesday had been a great success.
And the memories have flowed. Many locals have come in reminiscing about the times they dined here or celebrated special occasions at Bakehouse Steakhouse when it was known by the same name in the 70s and 80s.
“We had a couple who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary here and they’d actually met here. We loved that. There have been so many but that one stood out,” Mr Stevenson said.
“John Halley’s great-great-grandson came in with his family for lunch and he remembered it as a bakery back in the day.”
Mr Stevenson said for him personally, the most rewarding part had been interacting with the regulars who ventured in and who had supported the business from the start.
“We want to start supporting others in the community now, maybe there’s a sports team we can help,” he said.
Bakehouse Steakhouse is open for lunch Tuesday to Sunday and for dinner Tuesday to Saturday.