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June, 2020

After a seven-month fit-out, interrupted by the Covid-19 lockdown,
Queenstowns popular Flame Bar & Grill is finally moving across Beach
Street to larger premises in the Steamer Wharf complex this month.
Between the owners, Lou McDowell and Jonathan Bisley, and their
landlords, the fitout of Darby Partners former upstairs offices has cost
millions of dollars.
The couple  who bought Flame in 2016  originally intended developing
their present two-level restaurant in a bid for more space.
But at Steamer Wharf theyre able to double seating capacity to 150,
including bar seats, and get oodles more window space to make the
most of the amazing views.
It was called Flame Bar & Grill but there wasnt really a bar, other
than to make drinks, McDowell says.
Now, patrons will be able to eat at the bar, as well as use it for pre-
dinner drinks/snacks and cocktails afterwards.
Features include a corner skylight, two dining rooms apart from the
main floor area and a dedicated takeaway area.
Theres a large open-plan kitchen from which diners will be able to see
leaping flames.
With the extra space, handy for storing tons of steaks, ribs and basting
sauce, theres also room for bread-making.
The problem of smoke pollution from the current premises will also be
remedied by a really sophisticated electrostatic system on the roof,
Bisley explains.
The couple say the biggest issue has been retaining existing well-loved
features so regulars dont feel put out.
Like all business owners around the traps, the Covid-19 crisis and border
restrictions were hard for them to swallow.
But you say this is just a point in time, Bisleys says.
Weve all just got to do a better job, I guess.
Through the whole lockdown, we spent our time developing new
products in preparation for all of this.
That includes offering their famous spare ribs for people who want to
cook them at home.

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