Preeti and Navi Mahendru, with Carston Woodhouse, opened BIG Belly in Goodna on October 3.
Preeti and Navi Mahendru, with Carston Woodhouse, opened BIG Belly in Goodna on October 3.

New restaurant, cafe and bar a mix of Coffee Club and pub

A HUSBAND and wife team have opened a new Ipswich restaurant, cafe and bar which promises to be a mix of “Coffee Club … with a small corner pub.”

Navi and Preeti Mahendru officially opened BIG Belly earlier this month on Queen St, Goodna.

The couple also own a small cafe in South Bank and Mr Mahendru was a Domino’s franchisee, while Mrs Mahendru worked for a decade as a barista.

BIG Belly owners Navi and Preeti Mahendru.
BIG Belly owners Navi and Preeti Mahendru.

Both have an extensive background in the hospitality industry.

“I gave (Domino’s) up because I wanted to do my own business,” Mr Mahendru said.

“I used to work in a kitchen.

“We’re coming together and doing this.”

Mr Mahendru said his Brisbane cafe had taken a big hit during COVID-19 but he knew an opportunity to open up a new establishment in Ipswich was one he couldn’t turn down.

“I had this opportunity and I spoke to the landlord about this,” he said.

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“I was in negotiations for the last seven months and I was a little dicey, ‘should I go into this because of COVID?’

“Then I realised once the COVID is over, things will get better. It’s a risk I know and business is a risk.

“I’ve taken a little risk but I researched this community.

“I spoke to people here and they said they’ve been missing a good cafe here and food like this. I thought let’s give it a try.”

The Mahendrus are in the process of moving to Springfield Lakes and are excited to welcome the local community into their versatile new eatery.

Navi and Preeti Mahendru with Oxley MP Milton Dick and Bundamba MP Lance McCallum at the official opening of BIG Belly.
Navi and Preeti Mahendru with Oxley MP Milton Dick and Bundamba MP Lance McCallum at the official opening of BIG Belly.

BIG Belly is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, has a function room and a shisha night is in the works.

“It’s a very good mixture of a family cafe, a pinch of Coffee Club with a small corner pub,” Mr Mahendru said.

“I’ve mixed it around and made it like something so people can have whatever they want at one place.

“I have a little bit of everything. A little bit of an Asian touch, a little bit of an Aussie touch, a little bit of an Indian touch and a little bit of different cuisines.

“You’ll find something for you here.”

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Mr Mahendru said everything on offer will be freshly made and believes their range of cakes, pastries, cookies and other sweets will be a big hit.

About 15 people have been hired in the business so far but another 10 staff are needed.

Mr Mahendru migrated to Australia from India about 13 years ago and he said his multicultural team was a brilliant example of why he loves living here.

“We are all happy together and it shows what Australia is,” he said.

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.



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