Margaret River venue Morries is under new ownership, with current front of house manager Petra Ek and chef Dean Hulston taking over operations from 1 February.

Previous owner Dave Astbury is set to mentor the pair for 12 months, with the Ek and Hulston set to continue offering the same vibe, food and cocktails that Morries is known for.

For born and bred Margaret River local Hulston, the opportunity to buy Morries was too good to pass up.

“Petra and I have both worked in hospitality extensively both abroad and in Australia, and we’ve both worked at Morries throughout its nine-year history – it’s a venue that we’ve loved to enjoy for a long time as employees and as customers,” he says.

“Morries has established itself as an institution designed around quality cocktails, small-plate, share-style dining, and it comes a reputation which we are extremely fortunate to inherit and aspire to maintain.

“We love the atmosphere at Morries, it lends itself to something that isn’t overly common in a small regional town like Margs — a little slice of something you’d usually find in city; a small venue, consistently pumping and energetic.

“We love the feeling of accomplishment when patrons leave the venue absolutely buzzing about food, drinks and service, and we love the team vibe, accomplishing a common goal with the crew, creating something we can all sit back and be proud of at the end of the day.

“We’re not looking to change anything too drastically, our focus is to continue to uphold the quality and reputation that Morries has while putting our own impression on the venue and menu.”

Astbury has owned the venue for four of its nine years and will be onboard to help Ek and Hulston handle the transition to business management.

“Owning Morries has been a challenging and exciting era for me,” says Astbury. “With the local community support and the hard work from my team, we’ve created and maintained an epic venue — I want to thank everyone for the role they had to play in its success.

“I’m leaving Morries in a good place and very capable hands. Petra and Dean are energetic, enthusiastic and experienced, a formidable duo and I’m sure they’ll do well.

“I’m not going anywhere and can’t wait to experience and enjoy Morries from the other side.”

Morries is open daily from 5pm.

Image credit: Driftwood Photography