Brisbane’s NOTA is shutting up shop after five years, citing economic pressures

Brisbane’s beloved NOTA cafe has announced its closure after five years, citing severe pressure from the cost of living crisis decimating Australia’s hospitality sector.

Located in Paddington, in the inner west of the city, the modern European restaurant and wine bar will close its doors on August 3, marking the end of an era for local food enthusiasts.

According to chefs and co-owners Sebastiaan de Kort and Kevin Docherty, the decision to close NOTA was, surprisingly, a simple one, motivated primarily by the end of the lease.

After opening in March 2019, de Kort and Docherty transformed the historic storefront, formerly home to the French restaurant Montrachet, into a culinary paradise celebrated for its European-inspired dishes and extensive wine list.

NOTA has quickly won the hearts of locals, becoming a local favorite for both its menu and warm atmosphere.

De Kort and Docherty will focus their energies on their second venture, Allonda, located in Newstead in Brisbane’s inner north.

They co-own Allonda with sommelier Yanika Sittisuntorn and the team is eager to bring their unique style to this next chapter.

During the pandemic, like many restaurateurs, de Kort and Docherty focused on baked goods and takeout, a move that gave birth to the artisan dessert company Arty’s, which continues to thrive.

In mid-2022, they expanded NOTA by taking over a nearby lease, further cementing their reputation for innovation and resilience.

Reflecting on their journey, de Kort expressed deep gratitude for the Paddington community.

“NOTA would not have been as successful as it has been without the loyal support of our supporters,” he told The Courier-Mail. “We are excited about what the future holds, both for us and for the space we are leaving behind.”

The closing announcement on the NOTA website invites patrons to participate in a nostalgic farewell. “Come join us over the next eight weeks as we bring back some of our beloved classic dishes and say goodbye to the crew,” the message reads.

“From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you. We hope to welcome you again.”

De Kort said the tight Australian economy was causing chaos in the hospitality sector with dozens of popular venues collapsing under the pressure.

“The sector has changed. Spending has changed. People are working very hard for their money right now, so you have to make sure you tick every box,” she said via the Brisbane Times.

“But I think there’s still a lot of positivity. It’s been a tough 12 months but the next 12 will get better. It’s cyclical.

A warning has been issued that one in 13 hospitality businesses across Australia are at risk of failure.

New data has revealed that the hospitality sector is more vulnerable to current economic conditions as consumers’ disposable income shrinks and is hit by huge price increases.

News.com.au has reported on a series of failures in the hospitality sector in the last six months alone.

Hospitality firm Good Group Australia, which operated a string of high-end steak restaurants and several other Asian venues in three Australian states, entered administration and ceased trading this month owed $23 million .

Its closure resulted in the loss of 200 jobs.

After 18 years in business, Asian fusion restaurant Gingerboy closed its doors in April, citing “market pressures following the Covid lockdown”.

A number of other restaurants have joined the growing pile of failures, including Elements Bar and Grill and three stores of Sydney restaurant franchise Bondi Pizza, as well as Mexican restaurant Checho’s, in Sydney’s western suburb of Penrith, which is was closed in March.

Credit reporting bureau CreditorWatch said hospitality ranked first among industries for the rate of external administrations, as well as racking up Australian Tax Office tax debts in excess of $100,000.

The industry also ranked third for arrears in terms of paying invoices more than 60 days late.

Aside from the consumer crisis, companies have also struggled to manage cost pressures, such as electricity prices and the cost of ingredients, as well as labor shortages, CreditorWatch noted.

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