By Jessica Anstice
The local community is rallying behind a Beaconsfield restaurant that burnt down just one day after reopening on Friday 13 November.
Almost $30,000 has been raised in just 24 hours by the community via fundraising website GoFundMe since OM.Y Restaurant went up in flames on Friday afternoon.
The fire ignited in the restaurant’s old chimney and spread through the venue’s roof, causing parts of the ceiling to collapse into the kitchen and possibly the dining area.
Restaurant co-owner Blayne Bertoncello said he is “absolutely shattered” that his eight years of hard work and dedication has just about gone down the drain.
“I’m guttered. It’s my soul and my baby and it’s just gone now,” he said.
“It’s the worst thing that has ever happened to me.
“We threw a h*ll of a lot of money at it and had finally got it up to scratch.”
He said the community’s support through the online fundraising page has been “amazing”.
On top of the GoFundMe, Mr Bertoncello said he has received separate support from local venues offering to accommodate OM.Y Restaurant until it gets back on its feet.
“We have four months’ worth of bookings and many people have stuck with their bookings, so we need to find somewhere to operate,” he explained.
“If we don’t find something in new few weeks, we’ll be struggling. But all the other local restaurants have reached out to us and we’ve had a huge amount of support.
“It’s underrated how good our community is – it’s a beautiful community. I was standing out the front of the restaurant yesterday and 10 people came past to give me a hug.
“I would like to say a big thank you to the community and everyone who has always supported us. Everyone knows how determined we are, and this won’t stop us.”
Mr Bertoncello said he is looking to purchase a new venue to continue running OM.Y in either Beaconsfield or Berwick.
The fundraising campaign was launched by Lauren Bertoncello on behalf of restaurant owners Mr Bertoncello and Chayse Bertoncello.
“Only being open for one night since restrictions were lifted in Melbourne, Blayne and Chayse and their incredible team who have given their hearts and souls towards building their business into what it is today are left heartbroken and devastated,” Lauren wrote.
“My husband Cley Bertoncello and I have put this fund together to help the boys and their employees rebuild what they have created and give them hope in such a horrible and testing time.
“Not to mention how difficult it has been all year round and the hard work they have put in throughout the year to keep their small business afloat.”
With immense support from the community and family, Ms Bertoncello has faith the restaurant owners won’t give up.
One donator, Brad Silverman, said OM.Y Restaurant is “easily one of the best” in Melbourne.
“Devastated to hear about it guys and hope you’re back on your feet soon so we can enjoy the fruits of your labour during lockdown.”
To donate, go to: https://www.gofundme.com/f/omy-restaurant-fire-support-fund