Business

Bluebird takes over old Top Two space

COMING SOON: Owner and chef Jim Osborn and wife Katie have big plans for the former Top Two motorcycle shop on the corner of Palmerin and Percy Sts.
COMING SOON: Owner and chef Jim Osborn and wife Katie have big plans for the former Top Two motorcycle shop on the corner of Palmerin and Percy Sts. Emma Boughen

THE Warwick Daily News can reveal the mysterious 'B' that's appeared atop the old Top Two motorcycle shop stands for Bluebird Kitchen and Bar.

Jim Osborn, son of Peter Osborn of Osborn Lane Consulting Engineers, and his wife Katie got the keys to their new shopfront just a few weeks ago and have wasted no time in starting the transformation from motorcycle shop to an industrial-inspired restaurant, bar and takeaway coffee shop with outdoor dining to boot.

"We really want to hang on to that essence of a garage and work with the space ... we don't want to disguise that it was once a service station but rather embrace that," Mr Osborn said.

The new eatery's menu will draw inspiration from New York steakhouses, serving up a modern take on the barbecue ribs and wings scene.

"The menu will change seasonally. We want to use as much local produce as possible ... We've just sourced a local guy that roasts his own coffee and will make us up our own blend," Mr Osborn said.

"But our lunchtime trade will focus on burgers, sandwiches and salads."

Originally from Warwick, Jim and Katie met in Year 11 while going to high school locally. This year they celebrated 11 years together.

Jim completed his chef's apprenticeship at the Auchenflower restaurant Food and Soul in 2007, after which he and Katie moved to Hong Kong where he pursued cooking as a manager of three French restaurants.

"For eight months in Hong Kong it was something like 120 hours a week over six days ... we were pretty tired by the end," he said.

So the pair boarded a flight back to Australia and pulled up stumps in Melbourne, where Jim donned the apron again cooking all over Melbourne.

"I just fell into it. I finished school (but) didn't want to go to uni and fell in love with cooking ... It's an addictive industry," he said.

He then opened Soul Bistro at Milton in partnership with his former boss in 2009, where he stayed until moving back to Warwick in 2011.

Since then he and Katie have bought a house, had two boys and Jim picked up work at his dad's engineering consultancy firm, patiently waiting for the right space to become available.

"We've always been keen to do something in Warwick, we just had to wait for the right place to come a long," he said.

"This is a really versatile space. We've got outdoor dining, a function room and a coffee bar."

As for whether he thought the restaurant would be well received, Jim said he was confident the town would embrace what Bluebird Kitchen and Bar had to offer.

"Warwick seems to be slowly moving ahead, the food culture is evolving ... I think on the whole a well-managed business will do well, it's just a matter of hitting the market right," he said.

"We have to gain the locals' trust over time ... but we're keen to get into it."

At this stage an opening date has not been confirmed but Jim hopes to turn on the stoves and roll the doors up by New Year's Eve.



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