Italian fund-raising feast

ON April 17, 22 of the residents worst affected by the flood devastation in Grantham travelled to Brisbane to enjoy a four-course lunch as a guest of the popular and award-winning Mario's Dining Room Restaurant in Hendra.

Such generosity is a typical gesture from host and restaurateur, Mario Alfieri, whose support for charitable causes was recognised with his inclusion in 2008 in the book, Who's Who In Queensland.

“I found the pictures of the flood damage suffered by Grantham, which virtually destroyed that very picturesque township – but not its spirit – extremely sad and disturbing,” Mr Alfieri said.

“The lunch is just a small way of expressing my support, raising some money and hopefully giving the guests a pleasant experience and respite from the tough task of re-establishing their homes, their community and their lifestyles,” he said.

He added the guests for the lunch were nominated by the Lockyer Valley Regional Council.

Mr Alfieri said organising the event had been an enriching experience for him with the generosity and assistance he received from many people.

“I especially thank Black and White Cabs for their offer to bring the guests to Brisbane and return them following the lunch at no cost,” Mario said.

The event will raise funds towards the re-building of Grantham with a number of the restaurant's regular patrons having booked to pay for the privilege of joining the guests.

Mario said that all proceeds will be donated to the Appeal by Mayor Steve Jones.

Mario said the special menu included some of his most popular dishes.

With his wife Merridy, Mario opened his first restaurant in Sydney some 35 years ago and moved to the Gold Coast in 1978 where they established the very successful Nicolini's group of restaurants, then taking a stint in Singapore.

Following their return to Queensland, the couple brought their style and flair to Hendra when they took over the Dining Room restaurant in 2005, since when Mario's Dining Room has been a consistent winner of prestigious dining awards.

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