Hotelier Locky Heffernan might be relatively new to the area, but the Edgeworth Tavern licensee knows exactly what it takes to engage his local community.
Fundraising, free barbecues and Happy Hour every Saturday.
The initiative came about when Locky realised the level of community support present at the hotel, and was keen to harness the generosity of locals to help community groups such as cancer support organisation the Kaden Centre at Warabrook.
"Since coming to the venue in June this year, we started cooking up a free barbecue for the locals here at the hotel so we could engage with them and get to know them on a personal level," Locky said.
"Then we saw an opportunity to make it a Publican's Barbecue, open it up to the wider community, and ask for a gold coin donation from everyone with the money going to a different charity organisation each month."
While this month's fundraising will go to the Kaden Centre, which provides physiotherapists and exercise physiologists for those living with cancer, organisations supporting breast cancer awareness, men's health, and leukemia research have also been included on the list of identified charities.
"We seem to be getting fresh faces every Saturday which is great, and I think it's a combination of the fundraising as well as the barbecue and happy hour," Locky said.
"This initiative has provided a good opportunity for us as new hoteliers to get to know our locals, and to also invite the community to come down and get to know what we're all about.
"It's important for us that we do whatever we can to support the community as much as they support us."
"This initiative has provided a good opportunity for us as new hoteliers to get to know our locals, and to also invite the community to come down and get to know what we're all about..."
Since taking over the hotel, Locky has also brought in local, award-winning head chef Kylie Foster to create a new menu showcasing some really high-quality, simple pub food.
"I was in the restaurant business for 10 years and based in Wollongong before marrying my wife, from Newcastle, and moving up here," Locky said.
"After moving up here I took a part-time role at Maryland Tavern and within six months became the licensee and that's when I realised that being in pubs was the right space for me going forward. After being in the industry and around food for so long, moving into pubs has really refreshed my passion for hospitality and I know I am in the right place.
"I love seeing the faces of our locals every day rather than once a week or fortnight, like you would in a restaurant. It's like people become your family and you get invested in what they are going through. To be able to do that and make a living at the same time is fantastic.
The Edgeworth Tavern Publican's Barbecue is held at the hotel each Saturday from 4pm.
739 Main Road Edgeworth 2285
(02) 4958 1772