Bergies Fish Cafe in Thirroul is up for sale.
After three years at the business on Lawrence Hargrave Drive, the Berg family is looking to spend some time together that doesn’t involve fish and chips.
That’s not to say they haven’t had a good time, but owner Mark says it’s time to pass the spatula.
The highly-successful fusion of take away and restaurant has quickly become an integral part of the local community. Serving only the freshest of fish and using quality ingredients, Bergies brought to life what was a sad-looking (but classic) old building, and turned it into a local icon.
Now, after all that hard work, the Berg family needs a break.
“My wife Julia is the heart and soul of the business,” says Mark. “Everything that is Bergies is because of her. But we have three young children and basically, they want their Mum back.”
While Julia is the backbone of Bergies, Mark has his own, somewhat fish-related, interests in Austinmer.
Originally a photographer, Mark is the host of Foxtel series Mark Berg’s Fishing Addiction.
“I’ve been a recreational fisherman my whole life,” says Mark. “Then about 14 years ago I was sponsored by Daiwa, making me a professional recreational fisherman! I think if you can make a living from the things you love, it never feels like work, so I filmed a couple of DVD’s, then we hit on the idea of the reality show ‘Fishing Addiction’. It’s been really popular, and it’s helped make me a Z-grade celebrity in fishing circles,” he laughs.
And that celebrity has been great for business at Bergies, with people travelling from across the country to catch a glimpse of Mark, the fearless fisherman, serving fish and chips!
“We’ve had an amazing ride establishing and running Bergies,” says Mark. “But I travel a lot when we are filming (the show is then edited in Austinmer) and that puts a lot of pressure on Julia to run the business and the family. I’ll be sad to see the business go, but it will make life a bit easier.
“I really want to sell it to the right person and I’m hoping the new owners take up where we left off. It’s a successful business with a great reputation. We only use the best fish, not the bleached, imported stuff used by a lot of take aways. I also hope they can grow the business, opening longer hours. We never really tapped into the breakfast market, and our hours are short in winter. There’s plenty of room to expand if the new owners can give it the time.”