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Charis Seafoods - The Pelicans' Buffet

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by Tony Dyer (subscribe)
I've made it to my life's goal - the old age pension. Now I write for fun. Hope you enjoy reading.
Published March 22nd 2023
Join the pelicans for a lunch on the beach

Recently my darling wife and I spent the day with a couple of Canadian cousins who had discovered us through searching our family trees on Ancestry. They were travelling all over Australia and had a spare day in Brisbane which gave us the opportunity to meet up and spend that time together.

We wanted to treat them to something special, something they probably wouldn't do back in Toronto and, as usual, my better half had the perfect solution. A tour of the Gold Coast hinterland with lunch at Charis Seafoods in Labrador.

While, of course, the Hinterland did not disappoint in all its beauty and splendour the real star of the day was our lunch at Charis Seafoods.

Situated at 371 Marine Parade, Labrador and right on the Broadwater Charis Seafoods is a fish and chips takeaway with a unique difference. Not only does the business provide a wide range of fresh seafood and cooked-to-order fish and chips but they also serve up lunch to a big group of pelicans every day at exactly 1.30pm.

We arrived a bit before 1.30pm and got ourselves positioned to view the spectacle. There are tables and toilet facilities available but I would suggest an early arrival if you want a table with a good view.

charis seafoods, labrador, pelicans, bird feeding, fish and chips, meals
I am always amazed at how birds, animals and maybe even fish can tell the time and the members of the Broadwater's resident pelican pod are no exception. They started milling around on the beach early to make sure they were ready and in position well before the food arrived.

Then right at 1.30pm the Pelicans' Buffet was opened by a member of staff serving up lunch to the birds from a few large buckets of fish and other delights.

Those pelicans, I can tell you, are really big birds and they love their food. They jostle and weave in and out to get the best servings and, as we all know with a pelican, "his bill will hold more than his belican" so there's quite a demand at that buffet.

Once the spectacle subsided we decided we'd join the pelicans and ordered a Picnic Pack for $49.90. This consisted of fish bites, calamari, seafood sticks, prawn cutlets, chips, a couple of dipping sauces and a large soft drink with four cups. I was tickled by the supply of the cups because who carries around their own drinkware when they are out for a drive?

charis seafoods, labrador, pelicans, bird feeding, fish and chips, meals
The Picnic Pack was just right for us. I have to admit there was a bit of a struggle to finish off all the chips but I could be considered to be similar to a pelican in that I too can usually find a little bit more room for that extra morsel.

The other selections you could choose from to suit your group including a Family Feast for $74.90 or one of a selection of combo meals ranging from $12.90 for the Fish Bites and Chips to $28.90 for the Fishermans Basket. All these meals include a soft drink. If you don't want one of these standard meals you can always order individual items off the menu board including salads or burgers.

Charis Seafoods is not a restaurant so you won't be met at the door by the maître d'hôtel who will introduce you to your sommelier. It's better than that! You just pick the meal you want, the friendly counter staff take your order and somebody cooks it up for you. My experience was very enjoyable. The ladies behind the counter were friendly (and even understood Canadian) and whoever cooked the Picnic Pack really knew what they were doing. We all loved our lunch.

Charis Seafoods, the fish market, fish and chips takeaway and pelican buffet is open daily from 7.00am to 7.00pm and located on the Southport Broadwater at 371 Marine Parade. It has wheelchair access and a lovely open area with outdoor seating and direct access to the water. Parking is available and we had no problem mid-week but it might get a little crowded on the weekends.

For an idea of the variety of fresh and cooked fish, prawns, lobster, oysters, mussels, scallops, octopus, crab and much more check out their Instagram page here.

All up we had a lovely day made extra special by the pelican buffet, something to provide our Canadian cousins with a delightful story to tell back in snowy Toronto.
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Why? Enjoy a unique spectacle while you dine on the beach
When: Every day from 7.00am to 7.00pm
Phone: (07) 5527 1100
Where: 371 Marine Parade, Labrador
Cost: FREE entry but you pay for your meals
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