La Vida owners Nick and Sarah Hooper.
La Vida owners Nick and Sarah Hooper.

Why restaurateurs swapped the Apple Isle for Hastings St

THE new owners of La Vida in Hastings St spotted the restaurant for sale while on holidays and just six weeks later bought it and moved from Tasmania to Queensland.

About 80 guests attended the official opening on Friday night.

While the name has stayed the same, new owners Nick and Sarah Hooper have introduced flavours "from home" and a focus on seafood.

Ms Hooper said they first visited Noosa in June for a five-day holiday.

"We didn't (choose Noosa), our travel agent did," she said.

"He said 'go to Noosa' and I said 'I'm not really a Queensland girl' - it had never really been on my radar.

"But he said there was a full money-back guarantee if we didn't like it. 'You're gonna love it,' he told us."

And they did.

"We lived in Greece for about six years and I think it had that transient, international feel of the Greek Islands," Ms Hooper said.

"We came back a couple of weeks later, got out of the Uber and I burst into tears - and I'm not really a crier - but I said this is where we have to be. I'm home.

"That was it. I just knew."

They've brought their two cats and left family behind but have no regrets.

"I love Tasmania and I love all things Tasmanian," Ms Hooper, who works front of house while husband Nick is in the kitchen, said.

"That's why we're flying up scallops, crayfish and abalone and a whole lot of wine -I love being able to marry the two regions.

"People love something different and it gives us a little bit of a point of difference on the street."

Looking through the menu, it's a wonderful blend of local and Tasmanian produce.

There are Tasmanian Pacific oysters, scallops, black lip mussels, calamari, salmon, smoked trout pate, Flinders ­Island green-lip abalone and Cape Grim eye fillet, all sourced from established supplier contacts on the Apple Isle.

These are teamed with local scampi, Queensland finfish, Mooloolaba prawns and Moreton Bay bugs for a deliciously diverse range of entrees and mains.

"It's about the food but it's also about the service," Ms Hooper said.

She's already getting to know the regulars and has a "little black book" of visiting customers.

Ms Hooper said the couple had plans to brighten the ­interior and perhaps expand but admitted "it's early days yet".

However they have adapted and settled into their new home very quickly.

"We live in Noosaville and it's wonderful because I can ride or run to work," she said.

"You know what I think is nice? It's that we're outside all the time. That really appeals.

"And we have acclimatised very quickly. If it falls below 24 degrees I say to Nick, 'do you think I should take a jumper?'.

"Even though we're open seven days, it doesn't feel like it.

"I come in at 11am, set the chairs up, put a piece of paper up saying 'Gone to the beach, write your own reservations up' and I come back at 3pm ready to work."

She said other business owners in the street had made them feel very welcome.

"Their support has been amazing," Ms Hooper said.

"It's a great community, it really is."