WHEN Jayaweera Bandara followed his love for cricket from Sri Lanka to Warrnambool two decades ago he "took a chance" washing dishes at a Liebig Street cafe.
Still at that same eatery today, Fishtales Cafe, the now chef and manager known by most as Bundy has taken another chance and will open his own business next door.
Called Bundy's Bar and Bites, the venue will blend Australian and Sri Lankan culture to offer bar snacks and meals, paired with drinks and live music.
"I want to do something myself before I get too old and an opportunity came up," Mr Bandara said.
Mr Bandara and wife Kylie will both be hands-on at the venue, which will launch in early October after interior renovations are completed, replacing a decades-old former shop front and garage.
The new business is expected to employ about half-a-dozen staff.
The business owner of Fishtales Cafe is the landlord of the new site, and the Bandaras say she "is very supportive and proud" of their new venture.
Ms Bandara said her husband "came from a family of good cooks" but he had learned his cooking during 24 years at Fishtales Cafe.
"He didn't learn from his family to cook," she said. "Bundy is what makes the bar and bites unique, just the style of cooking he can offer to Warrnambool...Sri Lankans are renowned for hospitality."
Mr Bandara said he had seen Warrnambool's food culture change over time, particularly after starting a successful curry night eight years ago.
"When I said curry 25 years ago, people might be hiding but now they line up," he said.
Mr Bandara said he had always been a risk-taker and Warrnambool's business opportunities had given him confidence.
"I took a risk and came here. Even the train ticket I had to borrow money to come from the airport," he said.
"I just wanted to give it a go, that's the main thing."
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