Aotea cafe prov­ing a hit

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Char­lie’s Cafe in Aotea is a fam­ily af­fair for owner Hay­den Ayr­ton.

In only its third week of op­er­a­tion, the cafe in Aotea Dr is the first in the sub­urb.

It will even­tu­ally be joined in the same precinct by a beauty salon – owned and man­aged by Hay­den’s part­ner Cherie – a take­away store and a dairy or su­perette.

Mr Ayr­ton, orig­i­nally from Wainuiomata and now liv­ing in Aotea, said that when the op­por­tu­nity arose to open a cafe, he jumped in with both feet.

‘‘We did our home­work and a big let­ter­drop to let lo­cal peo­ple know we were com­ing. So far, in just a few days, the feed­back has been great – it’s been sur­pris­ing how busy we are. The com­mu­nity here has re­ally got be­hind us.’’

With a 7-month-old daugh­ter, the long hours are not ideal. A trained chef, Mr Ayr­ton is do­ing the food prepa­ra­tion him­self.

Fam­ily mem­bers largely make up the staff, but he said he hoped to ex­pand even­tu­ally, giv­ing Porirua res­i­dents jobs.

Char­lie’s – named for his daugh­ter, Char­lie-Rose – is open from 7am till 4pm, Mon­day till Fri­day and 9am till 4pm on week­ends.

There are break­fast, lunch and chil­dren’s menus and Mr Ayr­ton is al­ready re­ceiv­ing feed­back about stay­ing open later, get­ting a liquor li­cence and ex­pand­ing the cabi­net food of­fer­ings.

‘‘It will take time to get es­tab­lished and hear what peo­ple want, but I’m re­ally happy to lis­ten. We’re just go­ing to ease in for now.’’

Aotea neigh­bour­hood sup­port co-or­di­na­tor Mau­reen We­in­stein said she was thrilled with the new set of shops.

She said it had taken 18 months to get to this point af­ter a pre­vi­ous de­vel­op­ment pro­posal fell through.

‘‘Aotea con­tin­ues to grow and this [cafe] is a way of bring­ing peo­ple to­gether. It looks lovely and it’s in the right place.

‘‘At the mo­ment we have to go to Aotea Lodge or Porirua for a cof­fee, so get­ting a set of shops is a big thing for us.’’

Photo: KRIS DANDO

Fam­ily busi­ness: Cafe own­ers Hay­den Ayr­ton and Cherie Hughes and their daugh­ter Char­lie-Rose have been wel­comed to Aotea by a con­stant flow of cus­tomers.

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