The term 'extended family' usually refers to in-laws, cousins and sometimes even close friends, but new owners of the Orana Hotel, brother and sister team Eddie and Cindy D'Alessandro, bring a whole new meaning to the phrase.
The former Sydney-based Italian duo purchased the Orana Hotel at Blacksmiths in February this year and made the move up to Newcastle, bringing with them their head chef of 15 years, Vince Livia.
For Eddie, the move meant starting fresh in a city where he knew no-one, but over the past few months things have changed quite a bit.
"This is a hotel with plenty of regular locals who I have been getting to know really well," he says.
"It's important to me that I be here onsite and be a part of this community. It's a place where we can all help each other, not unlike a family."
The son and daughter of a successful Sydney-based Italian chef, Eddie and Cindy have a background in running restaurants and decided to make the move into hotel ownership as the next step in their family business.
"My sister and I have been in business together for a long time, owning and operating successful Italian restaurants in Sydney. Our mother was an incredible chef," Eddie says.
"But we were tired of the life down in Sydney and the speed of everything, so we wanted a change. As soon as we came up and looked at this hotel we knew it was the right place for us. Just the feeling when we walked in, we recognised immediately that it offered huge upside potential and that's what we were looking for."
"Just the feeling when we walked in, we recognised immediately that it offered huge upside potential and that's what we were looking for..."
While Eddie jokes his love of beer was a motivating factor for the purchase, the real drawcard for the pair was the potential of the restaurant.
"We have a chef that comes with us pretty much wherever we go in terms of business operation and since being here we've introduced a new menu with Italian meals. We weren't sure at first how the community would react to that, or to us, but it's been overwhelming popular."