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Moree’s newest restaurant – Maslina Bar and Grill – opening in 2018

THE launch of Moree’s newest restaurant – Maslina Bar and Grill – is on schedule to take place early in 2018.

Built from scratch by local moteliers Mick and Zelch Cikota, Maslina Bar and Grill on Warialda Street is part of the award-winning Econo Lodge Motel in East Moree.

The family-owned motel has undergone extensive expansion and upgrades in recent years, crowned by its new, soon-to-be-opened 80-seat restaurant.

The fully-licensed Maslina Bar and Grill – featuring a Mediterranean-styled menu – will be open Monday to Saturday and possibly for brunch on selected Sundays.

“I’ve always wanted to have a motel with a restaurant but we just didn’t have the room,” Mr Cikota said.

The problem was solved when the Cikota family purchased the adjoining Lodge Motel, which backs onto Econo Lodge Moree.

After major renovation work, including refurbishing more than half the rooms and external rendering and paintwork, a new 43-room motel evolved.

There is also an in-ground pool and barbeque area.

“When we bought the Lodge Motel we decided to build the restaurant where the old residence was,” Mr Cikota said.

“We are hoping to have the restaurant open sometime early next year for the general public as well as motel guests and maybe small, private functions.

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Mick and Zelch Cikota hope that their new Maslina Bar and Grill will be open to the public early in 2018 (Image: Bill Poulos).

“The food and the service will ensure patrons enjoy a fine dining experience and we will be using local, fresh products,” he said.

Maslina Bar and Grill – Maslina being the Serbian word for ‘olive’ – will employ 10 new staff members.

“These will be both full time and casual positions,” said Mr Cikota, a former panel-beater who arrived in Moree with Zelch 20 years ago.

Both were born-and-bred in Sydney and along with their two teenage children, George and Gina, they now proudly call Moree home.

Econo Lodge Moree has been rewarded in recent years and Mr and Mrs Cikota were formally recognised for their accomplishments by taking out the Gold Award and the Econo Lodge Franchisee of the Year award in 2013.

“I’ve always wanted to own my own business, and we’ve seen a lot of changes in the motel industry since we’ve been here,” he said.

Mr Cikota agrees that online booking has been the biggest innovation in recent years, if not decades.

“It has definitely changed the game, not to mention all the social media avenues – we need to keep an eye on it all,” he said.

Words and Image: Bill Poulos

Have you got sushi on the menu for Christmas Day lunch?

Deluxe Café Moree can deliver your sushi platter mid-morning on Christmas Day! Platters start from $70 and can be specially prepared to your requirements. Please call Cindy on 0418 487 868 to discuss your needs. Orders must be in by midday, Saturday, December 23.ChrissySushi2017003