An Australian Hotel Owner Is Flying Pizzas to Outback Residents Cut Off By Travel Restrictions
The Dunmarra Wayside Inn is making weekly pizza deliveries up to 250 miles away to feed rural residents.
Despite being in a remote part of Australia's Northern Territory, the Dunmarra Wayside Inn has collected a few dozen TripAdvisor reviews—and a lot of them talk about how good the food is. One visitor said that its pies were "something to behold," other guests said the Inn served the best vanilla slice pastries they'd ever eaten, while others praised the steaks cooked by owner Gary Frost himself.
"Some truck driver friends told me they reckoned the steaks at Dunmarra were amongst the best they'd had anywhere," one visitor wrote. "So when the opportunity arose I gave it a go, and boy oh boy was I glad that I did."
Although the Wayside Inn isn't getting any visitors at the moment due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions in the territory, some nearby cattle stations are still going to get a chance to try its pizza. ABC reports that Frost, who is also a pilot, has been flying pizzas to his locked-down 'neighbors,' even those who live 100 kilometers (62 miles) away.
"Nobody can go anywhere, they're limited to how they get their supplies and refreshments," he said. "We make pizzas at Dunmarra roadhouse anyway, so we thought we would get all the pizzas together and see if they were interested, if we can fly them out, so they don't have to leave the properties."
The cost of a pizza (or of a beer to go with it) is the same as it would be if someone ordered it at the Inn. As a business model goes, Frost says that it's not sustainable—but he also says that's not the point. "I suppose the cost of it is prohibitive as a commercial venture, but we're not doing it as a commercial venture," he told the outlet. "We're just doing it as a friendly gesture to try and help people out and create the right atmosphere."
Right now, Frost is making deliveries once a week, and he plans to expand his travel radius to include cattle stations that are as far as 400km (250 miles) away. (And yes, he's also willing to throw in some toilet paper for those who need it.)
Ben Anderson, the manager and head pizza chef at the Inn, told AFP that he and Frost very quietly put in a "massive" new pizza oven, but they kept all of their preparations quiet until they knew whether they could pull off any deliveries, let alone more than one. And even though the pizzas are being flown in, they still have to adhere to contactless delivery rules and leave them at the stations' doors. (Anderson suggested attaching parachutes to the boxes and dropping them out of the plane but, for now, they'll stick to that front door thing.)
In January, an Australian naval ship sailed for 20 hours to make a beer run, delivering almost 800 gallons of beer and cider to a community that had been cut off by the bushfires that were raging in the country at the time. The HMAS Choules delivered its precious (and unprecedented) cargo to the Mallacoota Hotel in Mallacoota, Victoria.
"After what Mallacoota residents and fires have been through the least we could do is make sure they could enjoy a beer," Peter Filipovic, the CEO of beer supplier Carlton & United Breweries said at the time.
If only someone had thought to fly in a few pizzas too.