Divorce sparks big shake-up for top restaurant
IT WAS named Australia's best new restaurant of 2019, but now Brisbane favourite Joy is set for a dramatic shake-up after the shock split of its husband-and-wife owners.
Tim and Sarah Scott, who opened the award-winning fine diner in March last year, have separated, with Sarah now taking over the 10-seater while Tim has a break from hospitality to work in labouring.
"He was actually happy to let it go," said Sarah of the restaurant which had become almost impossible to get a booking at after receiving a string of national awards and high praising reviews. "He's considered coming back in a few years to do something else, but he's super happy."
The couple had been together for seven years and married for two before officially breaking up after their restaurant closed in March under strict COVID-19 lockdowns.
"People just grow and change and we just made the decision to (divorce)," said Sarah, who insists the pair "still talk all the time".
"He is still there when I need him. When I need him I can call him and be like, 'I'm thinking this and this (for the menu)'."
The restaurant has remained closed for five months as the couple sorted out their personal lives and worked out how to reopen the tiny restaurant under strict new coronavirus rules, which takes their current capacity of only 10 diners down to just eight.
While Tim was originally due to come back on board, he decided early this month to move on, opening the door for Sarah to hire bartender of the year nominee and drinks expert Maddie Sim, who has been working at award-winning Fortitude Valley bar Saville Row.
Sim will take on front of house duties and cocktail making at Joy, as well as help Sarah in the kitchen and with the growing wine list.
"There's so much front of house that's just natural to her, which she's going to be able to show me," said Sarah. "The biggest thing I said to her is I don't want her personality trained out of her."
The new arrangement will mean the restaurant only operates three nights a week, Thursday to Saturday, gradually building to four or five nights, with two 2.5-hour sittings per night - half an hour longer than previously to allow diners to relax.
Despite Sarah taking on all the cooking duties, she will continue with the restaurant's multi-course offering of up to 13 plates that change regularly to keep things fresh for diners. And with the new role requiring her to work 8am until midnight at least three nights a week, Sarah said she was "super excited" but nervous.
"The variable is the menu that's constantly changing so it's a lot of pressure," she said.
The restaurant aims to reopen on September 11, with all the venue's August customers rebooked in for the month after the delay in relaunch.
Originally published as Divorce sparks big shake-up for top Brisbane restaurant, Joy