Etsu Izakaya owners and founders of Burleigh favourite take over Canvas Palm Beach

Almost three years to the day since Mitch and Nerissa McCluskey handed over the keys to their beloved Burleigh Heads institution Commune, the pair has stepped back into the daytime dining scene, taking the reins of Canvas Palm Beach. Nestled beneath Magnoli Apartments, the pair took over the spot just prior to Easter and wasted no time putting their own spin on the venue and menu. Here’s everything you need to know …

Apr 05, 2024, updated Apr 05, 2024

Mitch and Nerissa McCluskey were enjoying a leisurely breakfast one morning, when a chance encounter with some hospo pals – the owners of Canvas Palm Beach – presented them with a business opportunity.

With Etsu Izakaya in Mermaid Beach continuing to tick along of an evening, Nerissa jokingly offered to take over the beachside cafe. Well, as it turned out, plans to sell Canvas had just fallen through. A few days later, a new deal was struck and Mitch and Nerissa were now the proud owners of the cafe.

The pair, who had long been fans of Canvas since the old Nobby Beach days, saw the potential in the Palm Beach space, with the playground right outside as well as the ocean just a short sandy-footed stroll away. Upon receiving the keys, the first thing they did was remove the homewares that filled two massive tables inside, effectively doubling the seating capacity immediately. They opened the bi-fold doors to create a brighter, more approachable cafe-style environment, swapped out the lighting and added some greenery.

Changing the coffee straight off the bat is a bold move, Mitch admits, but it’s a decision the pair are well equipped to make. They’ve switched the beans to Melbourne’s Seven Seeds Coffee Roasters and purchased their own equipment so they have the freedom and flexibility to showcase specialty filters and batch brews as they feel.

When it comes to the menu, Mitch says they have some big plans starting with a side step away from the cabinet-style food, instead opting for made-to-order meals and full table service (which is expected to be rolled out in coming weeks).

The full menu is still a work-in-progress, with the pair adding a few new dishes every couple of days. So far, some of the early standouts have been the slow-cooked brisket (set atop a chunky house-made potato hash drizzled with hollandaise) and a vodka-cured salmon bagel with hints of dill.

As for lunch, Mitch says to expect a few more bagels thrown into the mix alongside a mouth-watering karaage chicken burger that contains Etsu’s famous fried-chicken pieces.

Head to our Stumble Guide for opening times.

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