Coonara Springs: Olinda restaurant sells after two years on market

It’s been hard to sell a restaurant during Covid-19.

One of the oldest restaurants in the Dandenong Ranges, once owned by a world renowned opera singer, has been sold after two years battling the pandemic on the market.

Olinda’s 1893-built Coonara Springs changed hands late last year for $2.3m to local buyers believed to intend to continue to run it as a hospitality venue.

Bell Real Estate’s Corinne Sukroo said the new owners had bought a house in the hills about a year and a half ago, loved the area and so now had invested in the historic venue.

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Nestle in among the treetops.

Alfresco dining with beautiful views.

“We believe it’s going to be reopened as a restaurant,” she said.

“All the locals are hoping they will reopen it again because the gardens are spectacular, the property’s great, they might be looking at small functions and private weddings.

“It’s been a boutique-style restaurant with functions and pre-Covid it was open for lunch and dinner with beautiful cuisine that was grown in the garden.”

Soprano Grace Angelau ran the property at 129 Olinda-Monbulk Rd as a tea garden in the 1940s.

The much vaunted Aga.

Cosy by the fireplace in winter.

The beautiful gardens are well known.

A newspaper article from the time said she first took a job at the restaurant as a waitress, cafe assistant and cashier to learn the business.

During the singer’s ownership, she added “the big music room”, using locally quarried stone to create a fireplace.

The Victorian Heritage Database lists the property as being of “high local significance” for its association with the growth of tourism in the area, as well as links to prominent district people, including teamster and timber worker Simeon Kent and district baker and councillor Frederick Le Juge.

A charming hills hideaway.

The property is expected to reopened for functions.

A dreamy corner.

The Victorian weatherboard was on the market with a $2.37m-$2.607m price guide.

Ms Sukroo said the Dandenong Ranges market was absolutely pumping with residential listings selling in an average of five days as more sought tree changes in the Covid age.

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