Wal­nut Cot­tage to go: Akarua win­ery moves in

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - DASHA KUPRIENKO

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.

SUP­PLIED

The pond and the bridge at Wal­nut Cot­tage cafe have been de­mol­ished to make way for a wine tast­ing area.

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