Absolute beachfront restaurant for sale in awakening coastal town of Lennox Head

In the coastal village of Lennox Head, known for its surf breaks and laid-back lifestyle, the team behind Shelter has redefined the fine-dining experience.

Recently listed for sale, the award-winning restaurant is elegant without being pompous. Effortlessly moving from a relaxed local hub for coffee and brunch to an elevated lunch and dinner destination, Shelter serves exquisite local produce from the NSW Northern Rivers region. 

“It’s knowledgeable service without the white tablecloths – that, to me, is casual fine dining,” says co-owner Andrew Love. “There are some restaurants I’ve been to where it’s silver spoon – you could hear a pin drop. It’s almost boring.”

“Where we are and who we are as people, I wouldn’t necessarily see myself sitting in that scenario – so why would I expect other people to?”

Shelter offers 'casual fine dining' right on the beachfront.
Shelter offers 'casual fine dining' right on the beachfront.

Having previously worked together at Three Blue Ducks, Love and business partner Troy Noonan established Shelter six years ago, setting out to put Lennox Head on the local food trail.

“I grew up in the Northern Rivers and it was my local beach to go to,” Noonan says. “I moved back here after 15 years of travelling. When this spot came up, it was the best opportunity – there was nothing like it in the area.” 

With an absolute beachfront position on Pacific Parade, the venue boasts its own holiday accommodation on the rooftop with an ocean outlook. However, there is deliberately very little mention of the stunning panoramic views on its website and Instagram. It comes secondary to the quality of the food.

Shelter enjoys uninterrupted ocean views.

“We wanted to create an everyday, approachable restaurant that has amazing food, excellent service and just so happens to be on the beach,” Love says.

Shelter has simultaneously won the hearts of Lennox locals and the country’s leading food critics. The restaurant received a hat in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide in 2019 and has been featured in the highly regarded guide every year since. 

The menu changes with the seasons and what seafood is available, with one exception: the beloved snapper fish cakes, served with poached eggs, cos, eschalot, lemon, capers and Gentleman’s Relish.

“They have been on there since day dot,” Love says. “The recipe has never changed. We took them off for a month and there were protests in the street.

Shelter has been recently refurbished ready for its next chapter
Shelter has recently been refurbished ready for its next chapter.

Another crowd favourite is the market fish, currently on the menu with radish, yuzu kosho, cauliflower and kombu.

All the staff are well-versed in the menu, where it’s sourced and how it’s cooked, while the wine list is carefully curated and cold beers are available on tap.

“This is the kind of place we would go to to enjoy ourselves,” Noonan says. 

But after six years, including a comprehensive renovation and refurbishment completed last year, Noonan and Love are pursuing a new chapter, having listed Shelter for sale this month. 

Romantic water views from Cupola accommodation above Shelter.
Romantic water views from the Cupola accommodation above Shelter.

The sale comes as the business is trading strongly, with annual revenue above $3 million. 

It’s fully managed with an existing side hustle – Cupola, the freshly renovated two-bedroom holiday apartment upstairs. 

Cupola is currently operating as an Airbnb and, as the ultimate backdrop for functions, it is an essential part of Shelter’s popular wedding season with established bookings through to next year.

Shelter is fully booked for the wedding season. Photo: Carly Tia Photography
Shelter is fully booked for the wedding season. Photo: Carly Tia Photography

Byron Bailey Real Estate principal Lorna Bailey has sold many top-tier hospitality businesses in the Northern Rivers area and believes Shelter is uniquely positioned.

“It’s the region’s brightest star,” she says. “It’s been well-recognised in such a short space of just six years and – as a stand-out favourite in the hearts of interstate travellers speaking with honest praise to their friends back home – each year it grows ever so much stronger. 

“It’s an impressive culinary experience that speaks to diners from all over Australia and people in the local vicinity come through it daily as their go-to community haven – that’s what I call a ‘unicorn business’.”

Locals and tourists alike love Shelter, Lennox Head
Locals and tourists alike love Shelter in Lennox Head.

Bailey expects interested purchasers to include hospitality buyers and city folk seeking a seaside change. “It provides a lifestyle you just can’t get in the city,” she says. 

The town of Lennox Head has become home to a large permanent community of city escapees. It’s less crowded and transient than nearby Byron Bay, and far more affordable. 

The council has invested heavily in a new high-street shopping experience, and upgrading parklands and beachside walking tracks.

“It’s had a huge amount of interest from upmarket travellers setting their sites for long stays in the newly changed town,” Bailey says. “And, it’s the only place you can buy a piece of land in the region just five minutes from the beach. You can’t do that in Byron Bay.”

Whales are a regular sight in the ocean off Lennox Head.

With the perfect storm of affordability, desirable tourism location and significant investment, Bailey predicts a big future for Shelter and Lennox Heads.

“When a moment like this happens we know it’s about a year away from being the hottest coastline town on the eastern shore to holiday or live, and we know the season for Shelter is set to thrive.”

See the full business listing here. For expressions of interest, contact business agent Lorna Bailey on 0410 609 789.

This article was created in partnership with Shelter.

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