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Finlay’s Kalbarri a finalist in six categories at the upcoming AHA WA hospitality awards

Michael RobertsGeraldton Guardian
Run by husband and wife Warrick and Melissa Finlay, Finlay’s opened its doors in April 2018
Camera IconRun by husband and wife Warrick and Melissa Finlay, Finlay’s opened its doors in April 2018 Credit: Supplied

After enduring a tumultuous time because of cyclone Seroja, a Kalbarri seafood restaurant and microbrewery has emerged on the other side as the Mid West’s only finalist for the 2021 AHA WA Hospitality Awards for Excellence.

Finlay’s Kalbarri is a finalist in six categories including the community service, tourism initiative, boutique brewery and live entertainment awards.

More than 800 nominations were submitted from WA’s bars, pubs, hotels, taverns and restaurants across 40 award categories, with the winners announced at a function in Perth on November 8.

Run by husband and wife Warrick and Melissa Finlay, Finlay’s opened its doors in April 2018 with six employees serving about 40 people a night.

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Fast-forward to 2021 and the microbrewery seats about 400 people on weekends, with about 25 staff working at the venue, according to Ms Finlay.

“It has grown massively,” she said.

“If we could get the staff we would love to open longer hours to get more people in.”

Finlay’s Kalbarri is a finalist in six categories including the community service, tourism initiative, boutique brewery and live entertainment awards.
Camera IconFinlay’s Kalbarri is a finalist in six categories including the community service, tourism initiative, boutique brewery and live entertainment awards. Credit: Supplied

When cyclone Seroja hit Kalbarri in April, Finlay’s did its part by helping feed the various emergency crews who rushed into town.

But after emergency crews left, Ms Finlay said the restaurant’s earnings fell by about 80 per cent.

“The word on the street was don’t come to Kalbarri,” she said.

“We had to work with WA Tourism and Australia’s Coral Coast to get the word out there that Kalbarri is open for business.

“Just to change the whole public perspective that you don’t go there because everything has been wiped out.”

Ms Finlay said the seafood restaurant would be punching above its weight on the November 8 awards night.

“We are quite proud and surprised we were finalists in all those categories,” she said.

“We are up against a few big companies, and us as a small family business, we are pretty proud we are up there with them.”

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