local, seasonal, transformative gem hits town
Debbie McQueen has three words of advice for anyone starting a business in Kyogle: flexibility, perseverance and patience.
They’re three traits Debbie lived and breathed when she launched her café Gateway Fine Foods and Catering five years ago.
“We wanted to provide an alternative to the other cafés and outlets in town and decided our niche would be to offer mostly gluten-free and vegetarian meals,” Debbie says. The café also has a delicatessen and retail space, selling mainly local produce, many of which are incorporated into the menu.
However, it wasn’t so easy introducing something new to the town. Debbie says it took a while for some of her customers to appreciate dishes such as quinoa salad over a more traditional steak and chips.
“And they weren’t used to seasonal products. If there are no tomatoes because they’re not in season, we’d need to explain why we don’t just get them from supermarket.”
Working with the local producers was one of Debbie’s early inspirations for launching her café. Gateway Fine Foods and Catering holds regular Long Table Lunches featuring talks and tours from local producers and farmers, all set against the spectacular backdrop of the area’s open paddocks and rolling hills.