ABC Magazine Stories, Australia, Bus Industry News

Da Biuso restaurant shows new way forward for bus hospitality

In an Australian-first, seasoned restaurateurs have turned a beautiful school bus into an incredible dining experience that is catching the eye of the bus industry

When Sarah Biuso’s husband and business partner Biagio came to her with a new idea for a restaurant, she had to take a day to mull it over.

The two had owned and run restaurants together for the past 25 years. Biagio wanted to break tradition by dodging COVID lockdowns through his latest creative concept of a high-class restaurant on a bus.

“Initially I thought the idea was a bit crazy,” Sarah told ABC. “But after a day of thinking about it I went back to him and said it may be far-fetched, but we could make it work.”

The couple began by scouring the market for a replica tram, but the size of the vehicle didn’t allow them to install a kitchen and dining area in it. Instead, they moved to a bus, with the couple being told to buy an old wreck before they decided they wanted the vehicle to be as high quality as the food that was to be served inside it.

“We wanted something a bit newer,” Sarah says. “But it was difficult finding something at a reasonable price that was in good condition and an automatic drive, as Biagio and our son both drive the bus.”

The end result was a 2007 Iveco school bus from a Queensland broker. Despite securing the critical part of the new venture, plenty of challenges still stood in the couple’s way as they looked to take a break from decades of restaurant ownership and instead change to a more mobile service.

“The first challenge came when we were told that the whole fit-out of the bus would take three months, but it took more than 12,” Sarah says.

“We decided to finish our lease on our previous restaurant and take a break from working. It ended up taking most of the 12 months to get all of the details right and source everything we needed for the bus.

“One positive out of the delay was we came out knowing we wanted a bathroom onboard, which we fitted in by putting the entrance to it outside.”

Photo – Gracie Yu/studiobitsy

The whole interior was then ripped out, the inside roof raised to fit more headroom and the kitchen and equipment was installed. Before they knew it, the Da Biuso restaurant was ready to take diners.

The bus is gorgeous both inside and out, fitted to resemble an old-style train dining car. When it’s not parked up and serving as a restaurant, it’s taken to a warehouse for Sarah and Biagio to maintain and prepare the vehicle for the next day.

After first opening to diners in March, Da Biuso has gone to the next level, opening its doors to an increasing number of passengers. The couple began Da Biuso’s journey inside the Eagle Farm racecourse before moving around to Hamilton and near the Gold Coast.

With more locations on the radar for the novel restaurant, Sarah says the pair didn’t realise the impact their new venture would have on the nation’s bus industry.

“To do something like this and be the first in Australia to have a full restaurant inside a bus has been challenging but worthwhile,” she says.

“I wasn’t immediately aware of the impact we’ve had, but we’re happy with what we’ve been able to do and the possibilities are endless for us. Being in a bus makes this venture a working holiday.”

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