Strathpine Burger Bar Rises from Ashes 6 Months After Alleged Arson Attack

Strathpine Burger Bar
Photo Credit: Grubbies Burgers and Hawaiian BBQ/Google Maps

Grubbies Burgers and Hawaiian BBQ, popular Strathpine burger bar, has marked a remarkable comeback after enduring alleged arson attacks more than six months ago.

Owner Ben Niumata remains perplexed by the motive behind the fires that targeted two of his restaurants. His Strathpine establishment was almost destroyed, while the Redbank Plains location suffered damage as well. 

Despite the devastating setback, Mr Niumata discloses that authorities informed him of no bikie or organised crime involvement in the incidents, characterising them as “amateur” acts.

The chain of events began with a fire at Grubbies Redbank Plains on the morning of the 2nd of September 2023, which was swiftly extinguished by nearby patrons. Remarkably, it reopened on the same day. 

Only ten minutes later, while firefighters battled the Redbank Plains blaze, the Strathpine restaurant fell victim to another alleged arson attack. Authorities suspect a connection between both incidents, as they found evidence of toilet paper burning in several locations at Strathpine, with the fire primarily damaging the kitchen area, leading to substantial smoke damage throughout the establishment.

Perseverance and Closure

Mr Niumata shares his ongoing ordeal with insurance claims, emphasising the challenges faced in the wake of these incidents. Despite numerous inquiries from loyal customers about the reopening date, uncertainty persisted, causing frustration.

The sight of devastation initially tempted Mr Niumata to walk away from the Strathpine restaurant, which had humble beginnings in a carpark. The fires have taken a significant mental toll, but the reopening on Friday, 19th January 2023, marks a significant step. 

Throughout this challenging journey, Mr Niumata made it a priority to retain all 43 staff members, treating them like family. He highlights their dedication, as some commuted from Griffin and Deception Bay to work at the Logan restaurant, underscoring the strong sense of community within Grubbies.

To express gratitude to his loyal Strathpine burger bar customer base, Mr Niumata offered two enticing specials on the reopening day with $5 Big Grub Singles and heavily discounted loaded cream paua fries.

Legal Action

In September, a 20-year-old Gold Coast man named Josiah Lea was charged by the Ipswich Criminal Investigation Branch and Petrie Criminal Investigation Branch with two counts of arson, two counts of unlawful use of a motor vehicle, and one count of contravening a digital access order in connection with the arson attacks. Lea was denied bail during a court appearance last year and awaits sentencing.

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Published 21-Jan-2024