A PIONEERING Wodonga restaurant that put the region on the map for fine dining over half a century will wind up this weekend.
The Steak Pit Bar and Grill, which was part of Elgins (formerly Wodonga Hotel), will serve its last dinner service on Saturday night after launching in 1971.
The restaurant was the brainchild of Beth Weatherall.
Beth's children Tom Weatherall and Liza Feeney, who co-owned the hotel since their father Vyv died in 2015, sold Elgins to the Black Rhino Group in March.
Mr Weatherall said the ground-breaking restaurant was a Border dining icon.
"The Steak Pit has been a phenomenal institution in the food history of Albury-Wodonga," he said.
"The Steak Pit introduced to Albury-Wodonga a new culinary dynamic; it was French provincial and it brought with it the magical food culture of Europe."
Mr Weatherall said nothing compared to the Steak Pit in its heyday.
He said it introduced new culinary flavours and sizzle plates during the 1970s.
"The importance of it lies in the fact so many people got engaged there and celebrated their weddings there; it brought families together to celebrate all sorts of milestones," Mr Weatherall said.
"It has been the most important food landmark in Albury-Wodonga."
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Beth introduced many new ingredients including now commonplace garlic.
Mr Weatherall said the restaurant was testament to his mother's culinary prowess.
"My mother had a love for food and an incredible sense of taste; she wished to leave her mark on the place and she did that without a doubt," he said.
"It was her gift to the people of Albury-Wodonga; Wodonga had the best restaurant over Albury for decades."
Mr Weatherall said it was the end of an era.
"It has certainly been an extraordinary journey so saying goodbye is tough," Mr Weatherall said.
Mr Weatherall said most staff who worked at the Steak Pit stayed for years.
"In many senses these people became family as well," he said.
"Everyone who had the opportunity to experience the Steak Pit shared in a bit of the magic!"
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