Waitangirua becomes restaurant hotspot
Waitangirua’s old pub now houses the area’s first restaurant.
The Hungry Tiki opened two weeks ago and is dishing out gourmet food in Porirua’s east.
Jimmy Isaako said his restaurant could seat 400 people and proved dining out could be cheap, healthy and tasty.
It’s Isaako’s first venture into the food business and he’s confident he’s on to something good.
‘‘Any high-risk business has high rewards. I’m ruthless in business and I love a challenge.’’
Isaako, born in Tokelau, has been a proud Porirua man for 38 years.
‘‘I’ve travelled a lot, but I always come back. There’s no place like Porirua.’’
Isaako’s business occupies the space that once housed the Two Tears pub, then the Hill 16 nightclub.
He said the building had been empty since the pub was closed. The pool tables, TAB televisions and mirror ball remain, but Isaako did rip up the old carpet.
‘‘It smelled just like an old pub.’’
He wants to provide cheap, healthy gourmet food at fast food prices.
All the food is made fresh on the premises by chef Meagan Te Kira. She specialises in making tasty food for people with allergies.
Isaako and wife Sharifa are looking forward to working with their community and their business already sponsors a local sports team.
The couple employ seven staff and expect to hire more as the restaurant gets busier.
The $12 Sunday roasts are proving to be the most popular so far and Isaako said everyone could expect to leave with a full puku.
Though he’s looking forward to cooking for the Porirua east community, Isaako wants people to travel to dine at the Hungry Tiki. He said Wellingtonians and Kapiti Coasters should ignore the area’s reputation and give it a go.
Isaako acknowledged that for some the idea of travelling to Waitangirua for a gourmet meal might be unusual, but he was confident the proof would be in the pudding.
‘‘Even vegans will leave with a full puku.’’
Jimmy Isaako wants everyone to leave his restaurant with a full puku.