Byron Bay restaurant will open in Grafton's Courtyard

HE NARROWLY missed out on having parents who owned Grafton's Crown Hotel but John Boland, also known as the "Chilli Dude" wasn't going to let another opportunity to set fire to the Jacaranda City pass him by.

Mr Boland, who founded the Byron Bay Chilli Company, is the next named tenant to take his place in Grafton's new dining precinct - The Courtyard.

"After World War II my parents - my mother was Australian and a war bride who married an American sailor - nearly bought the Crown Hotel in Grafton and settled there," he said.

"So after all these years it's interesting to be going to Grafton, when I think I could have almost grown up there."

Graftonians will get a taste of Mexico with Byron Bay Chilli due to open in the new year.

Mr Boland started his business operating out of a humble taco van at the Byron Bay markets 20 years ago.

One day after arriving in Australia from California, he decided Byron Bay was the place he wanted to live.

He and his wife began running the van, supplying their home-made salsa with the Mexican dishes.

When customers returned with empty jars, asking for more of the salsa, they quickly realised there was a promising market.

Byron Bay Chilli now supplies its products to 1200 supermarkets and food outlets all over the country. Its 10 products include three varieties of multi award-winning salsa, six sauces and corn chips.

Pizza Capers, Donut King and the Hogs Breath Cafe outlets all use its specialty sauces.

Mr Boland said he was excited about the Grafton restaurant.

"The concept of The Courtyard is fantastic - dad can order his steak, mum can have her tacos and the kids can get whatever they want, as well as ice cream," he said.

The Grafton restaurant represents the company's second dining outlet, with the first - a takeaway store called Ozymex - established in Byron Bay in 2008.

Foods on offer at Byron Bay Chilli at The Courtyard will include tacos, burritos and nachos and the accompanying drinks will be margaritas.

John describes his successful business as a "lifestyle choice".

"I love it more than ever. It's so much more than just a business - it's about interacting with people, about giving people something tasty that's not expensive. You'll be able to eat a meal starting at $6 or $7," he said.

The Courtyard is on the corner of Fitzroy and Villiers Sts.

Topics:  grafton shoppingworld

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