News

Winsome's new lease on life

Lismore Soup Kitchen president Mieke Bell (left) and Sharon Dwyer with musician John Gift at the Winsome.
Lismore Soup Kitchen president Mieke Bell (left) and Sharon Dwyer with musician John Gift at the Winsome.

Sharon Dwyer is determined to revive the Winsome Hotel and invite the public back through its once-popular doors with a new monthly restaurant called The Winsome Café.

Sharon and her team did a test run last weekend to fine tune their menu and make sure everything was running smoothly before opening the doors to the public next Saturday, March 10.

With the support of Lismore Soup Kitchen president Mieke Bell, Sharon and her husband, musician John Gift, want to bring people back to the venerable old hotel.

"What I really wanted to do in the beginning was run a café downtown and employ people from the Soup Kitchen who had skills and talent in food and customer service," she said. "But it was way too expensive, so Mieke and I brainstormed and realised we already had the best venue right here!"

While the Winsome operates as an alcohol-free soup kitchen by day, Sharon said people should make no mistake that by the time The Winsome Café opens the place will be completely transformed with fine food and live entertainment on offer and people can BYO wine or beer to share with friends over dinner.

She said they had 60 people for the test run and while it was "a bit stressful at first", they soon found their rhythm and the night was a roaring success.

"We had one lady bring a whole bunch of greenery and flowers, and she just went to town, and we had lights with butterflies and dragonflies - it was a really cosy atmosphere," Sharon said. "Plus next time we'll also have the outdoor verandah space. We really want people to bring their friends and enjoy being back at the Winsome, and we're also open to doing functions like birthdays or receptions where we can cater for the event."

Musician John Gift was enthused about the test run and said when you perform for a good cause (all profits go back to the Lismore Soup Kitchen) it creates a vibe amongst musicians you don't always find at paid gigs. He would love to hear from any musos who could give their time for future events.

"It was sensational - there was a really genuine feeling with everyone here to support the place, and Horace Bevan and Dean Peachy turned up to play as well. It was just awesome," he said. "Realistically the Winsome was the best venue in town but it hasn't been the right time to use it as an entertainment venue until now. We thought 'let's open it up, put on some good food and music, and help raise some money'."

Sharon has volunteered at the Winsome for nearly three years and said she's put together a crack team of volunteers and clients who she hopes will go on to find employment, or if the restaurant proves popular and opens more regularly, can stay on and work.

"I've been here a while and now I know the people who have the talent and the passion and the creativity to pull it off," Sharon said. "I have loved being here and I feel part of these people's lives… I've always felt cooking here was not just about filling their bellies but giving them healthy food."

She said her own cooking's improved markedly and is confident diners won't be disappointed.

"My husband keeps telling me we don't need to go out to dinner anymore," she laughed.

The Winsome Café will open for dinner on Saturday, March 10, from 6pm with music by Norm and Kathy Bell plus special guest Dean Peachy. Bookings are essential. Phone Sharon on 0447 224 205 or if you're a musician and would like to lend your help in the future, phone John on 0417 409 966.


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Not whether we win or lose, but how we play

Not whether you win or lose but how you play the game.

No chutney and scones on verandah today

Dr Airdre Grant

Life in the country you don't see in the magazines.

Bring Geoff's famous cabinet back to Lismore

TALENTED: Geoff Hannah with Minister For The Arts Mitch Fifield, Jenny Dowell, Kevin Hogan, Thomas George and Brett Adlington at the opening and unveiling of his work at Lismore Regional Gallery.

Famous cabinet coming home to gallery

Latest deals and offers

The perils of play: How kids are most likely to be hurt

THE thought of your child suffering a life-threatening accident is the stuff of parents’ nightmares.

What price would you put on a kid's 'miracle'?

At nine years of age, Quiń had an accident that caused a cataract to one of his eyes. In an instant; this little boy with his whole life ahead of him faced a future of blindness.

Thousands of Aussies joining campaign to restore sight to kids

Mayor's plan to bring Son of Lismore's cabinet home

TALENTED: Geoff Hannah with Minister For The Arts Mitch Fifield, Jenny Dowell, Kevin Hogan, Thomas George and Brett Adlington at the opening and unveiling of his work at Lismore Regional Gallery.

Mayor Dowell wants famous cabinet for regional gallery

Flood watch issued for Qld, NSW

NSW State Emergency Service warns of heavy rain

Blood-stained clothes seized after axe attack

Lismore Court House.

A landlord has been charged over an axe attack on her tenant

School girl porn ring site goes offline

The Federal Government is yet to confirm if the site has been taken down or simply moved to different offshore servers.

Controversial Australian nude school girl rating site disappears.

John Williamson winding up for another Gympie Muster

John Williamson is bringing some new songs and artists to this year's Muster.

John Williamson is back and ready to put on his best show ever

Tom Cruise private jets his gym kit around the world

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise charters private to take his gym kit around the world

Movie behind Depp and Heard split to be released

Soon you'll be able to see the movie that ended the marriage

Bindi's boyfriend helps release huge croc

Chandler (far right) helped the jump team.

Chandler Powell helps catch Duncan the croc

Mick Jagger to pay £2.5m to the woman carrying his baby

Mick Jagger is reportedly paying millions to pregnant ballerina

Navy man Keller ready to marry a perfect stranger

Former Navy engineer Keller is a participant in season three of Married At First Sight.

Tattoos are just the surface of Married At First Sight groom.

Ozzy cheated with 5 women in 5 countries: Sharon

Sharon Osbourne claims her husband Ozzy has cheated on her

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m