DAY-trippers dropping off the freeway to by-pass fast food were a big portion of Gordon Bleu's diners until the pandemic struck.
Gordon Bleu co-owner Scott Graham was confident day-trippers, but those closer to home, would still offer enough business to keep the popular Gordon foodie destination alive now Melbourne travellers are in lockdown.
Mr Graham said he and chef Sal Alshamsi assessed early on in the pandemic they had plenty of travellers to cater for, along with loyal locals, without having to rely on Melburnians.
"We were probably getting more people from Ballarat, Ballan, Bacchus Marsh and other parts of the Moorabool Shire anyway," Mr Graham said. "We're right to keep our takeaway mode and dine-in but our focus is very much regional."
Mr Graham and Yemeni-born Mr Alshamsi bought the old Gordon pub about eight years ago and gradually converted it into the cafe with Middle Eastern cuisine.
People tended to find Gordon Bleu when exploring the region or wanting a cozier place to rest a few minutes on their travels. Some customers would find them via Google.
Mr Graham said there was enough of that still happening, particularly after lockdowns were initially eased across the state.
At the same time, he said, Gordon residents were tending to go back to old patterns of doing a big shop out of town and maybe visiting a cafe or eating out while there.
Mr Graham said there was plenty of seemingly hidden tourist gems about Gordon and the broader region and he encouraged people to spend more time exploring what was on offer in the surrounding area, just outside Ballarat.
Moorabool mayor David Edwards called for diligence from anyone moving about the shire earlier this week with neighbouring local government areas going back into lockdown.
The shire has only recorded three COVID-19 cases and has no active cases but does feature a large commuter population.
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