'So grateful': Exciting projects ahead for family-owned pub
WHEN THEY aren't running around after four young children and two cheeky cats, Bridget and Wayne Barker are busy running the Boyne Valley's only pub.
The Grand Hotel, originally built and operated as the Railway Hotel on Bramston St and relocated to Many Peaks in 1907, has quite a history behind.
So much so, the Barker's have big plans in reinvigorating the dining space to include some of its rich history in the architecture.
The pair bought the pub about three and a half years ago, after it sat dormant on the market for years.
Little changes here and there, including small renovations, a fresh paint job and changes to the bar area has kept a steady stream of customers, both local and tourists, coming in to the pub.
But one of the biggest changes that the Barker's pride themselves on is the food.
"We make everything on the menu from scratch," Mrs Barker said.
"All of our produce is sourced locally within the region... we go into town (Gladstone) at least once a week."
Mrs Barker said she would hate to feed anyone a plate of processed food that she wouldn't eat herself or feed her kids.
"It's how I have always done it, and it has definitely earned us a reputation of good food here at the pub," she said.
The Barkers will celebrate their 10-year wedding anniversary this Friday, however, between looking after their children and managing the pub, it's unlikely they will have a chance to celebrate.
But nine-year-old Isabella and eight-year-old Christopher help out their parents wherever they can, while six-month-old Bridey and 18-month-old Georgina have the hard task of sitting back and looking cute.
And lets not forget Ralph and Frankie, the two cats the Barkers rescued and took in, which have become well-known to pub-goers.
"We have people coming in and asking about the cats, asking to see them because they are always doing something funny and love a pat," Mrs Barker said.
"The Boyne Valley really relies on word of mouth.
"And we get some great characters in here who always have great stories to tell ... We are so grateful for what we have here."
Mrs Barker said pub favourites was the flowing Great Northern beer on tap, the schnitzel and the classic seafood basket.
"We are soon also hoping to introduce a bar menu, for the days where we don't have a big enough crowd to open for lunch."