For the past 29 years, Vicki Woods has been at the helm of Bushrangers Bar & Brasserie in Maitland, NSW—an award-winning dining destination.
“My parents owned and operated a hotel from when I was 11 years old but I never thought I would subject my children to a hotel business. As it turned out, I was overseas with my mother when my husband and my father purchased the Largs Hotel. That was 29 years ago. My 28-year-old son was born and raised in the hotel. Ironically, he’s now a chef.
“When we first opened, we didn’t have any staff and the four of us did everything. Initially, Largs Hotel just had a small bistro where the big seller was a 500-gram steak with chips and eggs.
“We did a total renovation in 2000 closing the hotel and running a temporary set-up in the beer garden. We rechristened the business as Bushrangers Bar & Brasserie and now the restaurant comprises half the hotel. Bushrangers is located in the small village of Largs that is not on the way to anywhere.
“We still marvel at how we get so many diners from everywhere—Singleton, Muswellbrook, Nelsons Bay, Sydney…
“Bushrangers is a relaxed place and our restaurant is very much meet, greet and seat. We are in the Entertainment Book that offers discounts for various restaurants and we are told that we track far better than other restaurants. Our customers are seated with full service of meals and drinks to the table and don’t move until they are walking out the door. Essentially we are a restaurant and it’s our point of difference to other hotels.