Ben Walsh is the familiar face behind some of QLD’s most loved restaurants including Miss Moneypenny’s (Noosa & Broadbeach) and Fat Freddy’s Beach Bar & Diner. As owner of The Good Time Group, Ben sat down for a chat with Inside Gold Coast about his career to date and what he’s got coming up…
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I’ve been in Queensland for 7 years and 1.5 years ago we opened The Good Time Group’s Gold Coast offerings of Miss Moneypenny’s, Fat Freddy’s Beach Bar and Diner and Luxury Gaming Lounge in Broadbeach.
Tell us about how Miss Moneypenny’s Noosa was created, the concept and when did it open?
We opened in 2013, however I had been trying to get a Hastings Street site for some time and very happily secured that site. Miss Moneypenny’s is a brand that I’ve always had in my portfolio, I was waiting for the right location and Hastings Street, Noosa is definitely the right location to open first.
What was the decision behind deciding to open Miss Moneypenny’s on the Gold Coast?
A large portion of our Noosa clientele were Gold Coasters and we always had such amazing feedback from GC residents, it was the obvious next logical move for the Miss Moneypenny’s brand.
Tell us a little about Fat Freddy’s and how that concept was created / developed.
Fat Freddy’s is just another brand in my think tank that was waiting for the right opportunity to launch. I have always wanted to open a Sports Bar, but we really delivered beyond at this venue, it is really edgy. Fat Freddy’s is not your typical Sports Bar, it’s fun, it’s rock n roll and it has a huge following with Broadbeach locals.
What do you love most about living here?
There’s always something going on and although it’s a large city, it has a laid back community vibe. The cosmopolitan side of the Gold Coast is growing rapidly, turning it into an Australian ‘must do’ food and beverage destination.
Tell us a little about your career progression since leaving school?
I travelled overseas to race cars professionally and was sponsored by a man who owned a high-profile bar with some of the best bartenders in world, so once I started working there, I got hooked on the hospitality industry from that point on.
How did you get into car racing?
I have always loved cars, when I was 12 years old, I saved up for a very long time to own a go cart by selling newspapers on weekends. My dad saw how serious I was, so he helped me get into racing and a year later I was sponsored.
Tell us about your time in Sydney working at Goldfish?
I opened Goldfish in 2013, on a site that used to be called The Goldfish Bowl, which was a 24hr dive bar. After I redeveloped the site and it had doubled in size, we turned that into one of the most high profile nightclub bars in Australia, hosting the most high profile international DJ’s on a weekly basis then went on to win many awards including the nomination for Australia’s Bar of the Year and Australian Nightclub of the Year.
How does the rest of 2020 look for you?
I think the outlook is bright and promising, hopefully the borders will open soon and we will get our interstate tourism back. However, under current restrictions we have been very reliant on locals and local businesses which has been wonderful for us, we are consistently full in both venues with locals who return time and time again and absolutely love the venues.
Tell us what is on the cards for The Good Time Group in years to come. Any more plans to expand?
Yes, very much so. We have some hugely exciting projects on the horizon which we cannot reveal just yet, watch this space…
Tell us your favourites on the Coast:
Cafe for breakfast: Goji Granola Bar, Clear Island Waters.
Restaurant for dinner: Kiyomi and can I say Miss Moneypenny’s? (cheeky smile)
How does your weekend usually look: Exceptionally busy.