Andrew Love is Mr July

Co owner Shelter
Birthplace: Wagga Wagga
Family: mum Margaret, dad John, sisters Kim and Natalie
Star sign: Aquarius
Favourite food: Lasagne

Andrew Love didn’t much like school, so as soon as he got the chance he quit and took up a trade.

‘There was a romance in automotive spray painting for me, because I dreamed of doing up an old car of my own one day, like an old Holden.’

But the realities of the trade soon made themselves apparent—lots of white Hiluxes. Not exactly the stuff this young apprentice’s dreams were made of. 

So when Andrew left Wagga to travel the world, which was as soon feasibly possible, he left the spray painting behind and got a job in a bar. And his first memorable bar job was thousands of kilometres away, in the music and drinking capital of Ireland, Galway. 

‘The place was called Macalindons, and it was tiny—it only had about 30 seats,’ Andrew says, ‘but I loved it there. It was full of locals drinking and singing and playing the accordion until 4 in the morning. It was so much fun.’

After a year in Galway Andrew went to Spain and then to Canada, chasing snow. He found himself first in Saskatchewan and then in Banff where he got a job waiting tables. This new lifestyle was perfect. Andrew and his friends would work all night and go snow boarding all day. It was there, in a fine dining Italian restaurant, that he met current business partner Troy (and developed his love of lasagne).

Of course his time in Canada was also peppered with trips to the US, Mexico, Peru and Equador, but eventually he followed his heart, and moved to Wellington New Zealand to be with his girl.

‘I think I was away from Australia for about seven years, but eventually I came back from New Zealand with a broken heart and an empty bank account,’ he says.

‘I moved to Sydney and worked in restaurants in Double Bay and Rose Bay. I hated it. Dealing with people who had bad attitudes and big bank accounts. 

‘I became very disillusioned with hospitality, but then I walked into a cafe in Bronte called 3 Blue Ducks, and had one of the best meals I’ve ever had. I asked them if they had any work and they put me on as a casual waiter. It wasn’t long until I was dinner manager.’

When the management of 3 Blue Ducks decided to open a restaurant in Byron Bay Andrew was involved in the design and planning process from the outset.

He moved up here to be General Manager of 3 Blue Ducks at The Farm  in Byron and shared the enjoyment of its immediate success. During that time he gave his old mate Troy, who he had met in Canada several years earlier, a job.

But after two years Andrew and Troy decided that they wanted to try something themselves; to go out on their own. In 2014 Andrew wrote himself a sneaky little affirmation, that he would own and operate his own restaurant by 2017. And Bingo, he made it happen.

When they found the Shelter premises they decided to completely renovate it themselves too, and with a little bit of help from a builder they designed the restaurant we see today. 

Not only that, they turned up here every day for two months and got their hands very dirty making it all come together.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Interacting with and talking to people every day. And not having to think about what I’m having for lunch.

Worst thing?

Having to be ‘on’ all the time can be draining. You have to be up, happy, positive, even when you’re having an ordinary day. Getting up at 5 sucks too.

Hobbies? 

Surfing and music. I’m in a garage band called Dr Love and the Deadbeats.

Work Life Philosophy?

Back yourself, and believe what you are doing is right. And of course do something you love, because when things get tough that will keep you going.

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