A NORTH East dining icon has moved into the heart of Rutherglen after more than two decades at Wahgunyah among the grapevines.
The Pickled Sisters Cafe will officially open in Main Street on Friday night.
Husband and wife owners Stewart Gilchrist and Marion Hansford took over the cafe more than 17 years ago after it was founded at Cofield Wines four years earlier.
Having shifted from inner-city Melbourne in 2004 with a young family, the couple said the timing was now right for a change.
"We celebrated the 21st anniversary of the cafe last year and we've been at Cofields for 17-and-a-half years," Ms Hansford said.
"We moved from Richmond with a two-year-old who is now doing his last year of high school.
"We felt the time was right for a new challenge and then the Taste Restaurant building came up for lease."
She said three dining areas comprised the classic interior, a covered courtyard and outdoor dining under a grapevine canopy.
"The French bistro style is what Stewart loves and we could immediately see ourselves here," Ms Hansford said.
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Classically trained with more than 30 years' experience, Scottish-born Gilchrist is renowned for being guided by local produce and seasonal flavours.
His vineyard platters - comprising terrine, muscat and chicken pate, smoked trout mousse, Gooramadda olives and Milawa cheese - are also legendary.
"We always have confit duck on the menu too but right now it's a cassoulet; other seasons we've done it with quinces or rhubarb," he said.
Ms Hansford, who is in charge of the front of house team, first met Stewart working at a seafood restaurant on the Isle of Arran, where they fostered their love of local produce and community.
Ms Hansford said their patrons had supported them throughout the coronavirus pandemic as they pivoted to takeaway owing to the restrictions.
She said they would continue to offer takeaway due to its popularity.
"We have kept our core team and we have a new apprentice in the kitchen," she said.
"But we are looking to grow our team."
The wine list will reflect regional offerings.
Pickled Sisters will continue its monthly cooking classes; Winter Warmers is next on Wednesday, July 28.
The Pickled Sisters Cafe, located at 121 Main Street, opens on Friday and Saturday for breakfast, lunch and dinner and Sunday and Monday for breakfast and lunch.
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