29 March 2023

Cash-strapped Pialligo Estate in urgent talks to stay in business

| Ian Bushnell
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Pialligo Estate wedding

One of the four weddings Pialligo Estate managed to deliver at the weekend. Photo: Ryan David Music.

The embattled Pialligo Estate restaurant and function business is hoping to find a solution to its financial troubles in the next 48 hours so that it can reopen its doors and fulfil its commitments.

The Pialligo business, which closed its doors suddenly on Friday after staff were informed the previous night, issued a statement tonight (27 March) saying negotiations were continuing with financiers.

“It is hopeful that a clear picture will emerge within the next 48 hours and this will include a position on the fulfillment of booked events,” the statement said.

But the statement said Pialligo Estate could not guarantee any outcome and guests with bookings in the immediate future may wish to consider their options.

“We are of course all hoping for a positive outcome and a return to business,” the statement said.

READ MORE Pialligo Estate’s future in doubt as business faces financial heat

“We thank you for your past support and apologise for the inconvenience caused.”

The statement said the closure stemmed from a breakdown in negotiations with financiers while the business endured difficult trading conditions and was still recovering from “multiple stressors including two separate fires and two separate lockdowns”.

“With the staff stood down and negotiations ongoing, it has not been possible to issue you with a communication until now,” it said.

Further updates would follow as they became available, the statement said.

The business managed to deliver the four weddings booked at the weekend by using external contractors.


The garden entry to Pialligo Estate. Photo: Stephen Ning.

A source close to the business said guests had been very understanding and many people wanted the business to be able to fulfill its obligations to the people of Canberra.

Nothing had been cancelled and anything was on the table.

“The uncertainty is the challenge for everybody, for guests and staff,” the source said.

The business website and Facebook page remains down.

The Pialligo Estate complex is owned by prominent Canberra businessman John Russell and includes the restaurant, outdoor garden, four pavilions for private dining and functions, and an olive grove, vineyard and orchard.

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It opened in 2013 and established itself as a foodie and function mecca with diverse ventures and venues.

The business also includes the Pialligo at the Plot on Beltana Road, which includes a cafe, grocer, event spaces and boutique stores.

It also runs an award-winning smokehouse, which had to be relocated from Hume to Fairbairn after a fire in 2016. Eighteen months later, another fire destroyed the farmhouse restaurant.

COVID-19 restrictions also devastated the business, as it did many in the Canberra hospitality sector.

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Charlie Fair1:12 pm 28 Mar 23

This is sad news indeed. I know nothing of the background/business side of this story, but Pialligo has been a favourite location over many years. I hope the background issues can be resolved and the business survive.

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