Nearly 36 years to the day they first opened, Ania and Phil Sowter are preparing to unveil their rebuilt The Polish Place Restaurant and Gallery.
It’s been two-and-a-half years since their Tamborine Mountain institution was destroyed by fire and the couple say they are excited to finally be able to open the doors and serve their much-loved Polish food to mountain visitors again.
“We will be open in early September,” says Ania.
“Coincidentally it will be nearly 36 years to the day that we first opened. In late 2016 fire engulfed our restaurant and art gallery and since then we have been planning and seeking the approvals to rebuild. We started building in January and the weather and the builders have been very kind to us and we are ready to open.”
Phil and Ania bought their block of land while on their honeymoon at Tamborine Mountain in 1981. They built the Polish Gallerie & Coffee Shop and ran the business in tandem with their day jobs as a school teacher (Phil) and a physical therapist (Ania).
Following the fire, the Sowters took the opportunity to update their five accommodation chalets on the property during the works. Ania says the new building looks similar to the original, and while there are some small changes, the aesthetic remains the same.
“We know that people love sitting on our beautiful large deck to take in the views and see the birds and wildlife,” she says.
“The restaurant will continue to serve the menu we have been known for as it was previously very successful.”
The menu features Ania’s Polish family recipes, including Polish dumplings, Polish sausage and roast whole duck for two with cherries. Ania admits that following the fire she and husband Phil questioned whether they should stay and rebuild.
They were encouraged by the support they received from loyal customers and supporters, as well as their daughters Belinda and Kathryn, who are both involved in the business.
“We’re very excited to be reopening and are looking forward to it, following a two and a half year break,” she says.
“Considering our age we had options and we were told by family members it was time to retire but then we had comments from customers and guests which prompted us to do it again. We just love being here, we love the lifestyle and running this business. We meet a lot of people and some of them become our friends, they come to visit and that’s what our life is all about.”