Walnut Cottage to go: Akarua winery moves in
The 150-year-old Walnut Cottage cafe has been sold and is being renovated and turned into a ‘‘contemporary’’ restaurant.
Akarua Wines general manager Kathryn Pettit said the changes to the heritage building would be minimal.
‘‘We want to retain the lovely feel and give it a refreshment, give it more love and care,’’ she said.
The company was working closely with the landlord to maintain the heritage values, she said.
However, the pond and the bridge near the building were demolished to build a wine testing area.
She expected the new business to open in November.
The Walnut Cottage cafe was owned for six years by Rick and Dini Siddik who said it was sad to see their business go.
‘‘It kind of breaks my heart a little bit,’’ Dini said.
‘‘I try not to get too emotional with businesses,’’ Rick said.
However, the pair said the building needed some tender loving care.
‘‘This is going to be good for the building to preserve it, definitely,’’ Rick said.
The couple were the longest owners of the Walnut Cottage, which was a gift and craft shop, a garden shop and was well known for its scones.
The majority of cafe customers were locals who might come in for a coffee after a run or pop in for breakfast while walking the dog.
Rick and Dini were afraid the place would lose its casual feel once it turned into a restaurant.
Pettit said after the renovations the restaurant would still be focusing on the local market.
‘‘Coffee and breakfasts play a big role. It’s the key to making it work,’’ she said.
Akarua, which has five wineries near Cromwell, was excited to build a profile in Arrowtown.
‘‘It was crucial for us to make a presence in Queenstown,’’ Pettit said.
The works on the site started at the beginning of September and the business was sold in June.
The Siddiks will take a break, and Dinni will travel to Indonesia to see her family.
However, the Indonesian couple were hoping to open a traditional restaurant in Queenstown in the future.
The couple will continue working in hospitality. ’’It’s in our blood,’’ Dini said.
The pond and the bridge at Walnut Cottage cafe have been demolished to make way for a wine tasting area.