TRANSPORTED BACK: Blue Topaz owners Brendan and Shonel Roberts have fit out their highway diner with a retro feel.
TRANSPORTED BACK: Blue Topaz owners Brendan and Shonel Roberts have fit out their highway diner with a retro feel. Matthew Purcell

New retro feel at diner on highway

IN TIMES of desperation it pays to think outside the box.

Brendan and Shonel Roberts have spent the past couple months converting their Blue Topaz Caravan Park diner into a '50s retro throwback.

Not because it'd been a long-held dream of either of the pair, but because they needed to find a way to keep the doors open.

They anticipate backpacker numbers to drop next year as a result of the region's dire water circumstances.

"With the situation with the water and the farming, we know there's going to be very little backpackers next year so we thought we'd do something to pull people out of town so we don't have to close our doors,” Brendan said.

"This concept just came to us.

"So far, it's working.”

They have been running the business for the last three and a half years.

Their main source of income flows from the caravan park behind the diner, but business has struggled this season, with next year looking even more bleak.

"Next season is going to be much worse. Our numbers were low this season - at least 70 down all season which is impacting us,” Shonel said.

They'll be reliant on local clientele to keep going.

"The hardest thing is getting people from town to come out. Even though it's five kilometres, it's a long five kilometres.

"We'll start doing Friday and Saturday nights eventually too.”

With burgers considered some of the best in the region already, they've added to their menu, keeping theme.

They're doing '50s style milkshakes, chilli dogs and have a Jukebox rocking round the clock.

"It's a bit of fun - something different for families. We've had a few older couples come out and listen to the music,” Shonel said.

Brendan concurred: "You're going to pull more of a crowd having something like this.

"It becomes more of a tourist destination.”

Positioned on the highway at Severnlea, the diner trades Monday-Friday from 8am-4.30pm, Saturday 8am-2.30pm, Sunday 9am-1.30pm.