CLOCKY: Traditional family favourite with a fresh feel
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THE Clocktower Hotel has long been a traditional favourite of the Grafton CBD for locals and visitors alike.
But new management of the restaurant in 2019 spiced things up on the menu with something to suit everyone's taste.
Shawn and Emily McNally both brought extensive inner Sydney restaurateur experience combined with their country hearts to the table when they took on the food side of the business owned by Emily's father, Billy Dougherty.
Raised in Cootamundra, Shawn managed a restaurant at Brighton-Le-Sands in the Botany Bay area before he was operations manager at a Bondi Junction hotel, while Grafton-raised Emily managed the Paragon Hotel in Circular Quay.
"We both grew up in the country. It has that more that personal feel," Shawn said. "You're made to feel welcome and that's what we like to pass onto the customers.
"We have a good team in the kitchen who have worked here for a number of years now prior to us taking it over and helped us with the transition."
The couple took on the restaurant on April Fools Day last year and almost completed a smooth sailing first 12 months until the COVID-19 pandemic saw all pubs and restaurants shut down on March 23.
Like all venues they've had adapt to the latest NSW Government regulations, but are back in the full swing.
While striving to deliver good-priced, good-sized meals customers have come to expect at the Clocktower, the McNally's have looked to bring some of their own touch to the menu.
"We introduced a lot of fresh seafood when we first took over and got some good burgers on the menu," Shawn said.
"As often as we can we're getting local jewfish and snapper. We do serve barramundi from Queensland, and Tassie salmon, but it's all fresh, nothing frozen.
"Our head chef Tina Kelly has extensive experience in the hospitality industry and brings a lot of that clean, healthy eating to the plate.
"We're trying to bring some healthy options, catering for gluten free. It's pub grub with a bit of fine dining mixed in there.
"We keep it nice and broad so we can cater for lots of different people."
The team also takes pride in serving up an extensive cake and slice range with everything made in-house.