Pipit is a small fine diner in Pottsville, a seaside town about a half hour's drive from Byron Bay. When it opened in 2019, we called it the most anticipated northern NSW restaurant of the year, and its esteem has only risen since.
A few weeks ago, following two years of pandemic-disrupted trade, owners Yen Trinh and Ben Devlin decided to take a short break, before getting stuck into the new year. Then the floods started.
"And we came back to all of this," says Trinh.
"Compared to other places, [Pipit] came out relatively okay … we had no nbn and no 4G, a lot of our suppliers couldn't get to us – and we got a lot of local cancellations, and people cancelling their holidays."
But thanks to the lack of flooding damage to the building, Pipit was able to reopen, with some menu tweaks.
"You have a kind of survivor's guilt about reopening, so we've looked at a whole bunch of different ideas for helping," says Trinh.
First, Pipit asked any guests with gift vouchers to Pipit to consider donating those vouchers – and their reservations – either to friends and family who could make those reservations, or to members of the flood-affected community that deserved an evening out to take their minds off things.
If you have a voucher to a flood-affected business – such as a restaurant, hotel, or spa – but now can't make it over there, consider donating it to someone who can.
"We hadn't thought of that, Trinh says. "So I thought, 'well, maybe other people haven't thought of this – let's offer it out to the rest of our guests, see how many people can convert their vouchers."
"We're not asking people to buy new vouchers [to Pipit]," says Trinh. "Businesses will have years of accumulated vouchers, and for us, we can't use that as a cash, so it's not helping us, so we might as well just use it to help other people."
And second, Trinh and Devlin have put together a raffle, with a goal of raising $40 000 to donate to flood relief. One $50 ticket gets you a chance at winning one of seven prize packages, each worth well over $700.
Highlights from across the packages include a night's stay at Halcyon House; a voucher at Maurice Terzini's new restaurant Belongil Beach Italian Food; surfing lessons; clothing vouchers, massage treatments; a night's glamping; a guided turtle snorkel tour; and more. The Pipit Package an exclusive evening of dining at Pipit for you and five mates (including drinks), as well as a kitchen tour and exclusive merch.
So far, over 500 tickets have been sold with over $25 000 raised. The majority of the funds are going to Givit's flood appeal. The remainder of the money raised is being split equally between three crowdraiser funds for flood-affected hospitality businesses in Lismore.
Ticket sales close at 12pm on March 22, prizes are announced on March 23. Buy tickets here.