Tasty options enhance CBD

By Joseph Aldridge

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Tauranga's central city hospitality sector is in expansion mode, with two new food service outlets opening tonight and more to come soon.

A recently completed development on The Strand has already secured three hospitality leasees and the remaining four units will go up for auction next week.

The first two tenants to open at the new development are Zaggers, the second branch of a well-known Tauranga cafe, and Monteiths bar and restaurant Phoenix. Both outlets will be opening tonight.

A third restaurant, Comida, was planning to open in two weeks.

Zaggers owner Wendy Traecey said her downstairs cafe could cater for up to 120 people, while a function facility upstairs could cater for up to 300 people.

Local food-lovers were looking for something different at The Strand and there was demand for a fully-catered conference room with waterfront views, she said.

"We just thought it was a great spot and an opportunity not to be missed."

Next door at Phoenix, owner Mark Lawrence was looking forward to serving great food and a wide range of craft beers.

History, both old and recent, played into the theme of the bar, Mr Lawrence said.

"We called ourselves the Phoenix after the big fires down here in 1916. There was 11 shops and a timberyard which burnt down and we've paid a little bit of homage in our theming towards the local fire brigade of that time."

Mr Lawrence also used to own the Horny Bull bar that formerly operated on the site before it was demolished and so the name Phoenix, with it's mythical story of rising from the ashes, had a special significance.

"We felt that Tauranga was ready for something a little bit creative, a little bit different from what other bars and restaurants are offering on The Strand and we wanted to run with it."

Comida, a wine, tapas and oyster bar run by Tauranga restaurateur Luigi Barattieri, is located behind Phoenix and is scheduled to open on December 19.

Mr Barattieri, who owns Tauranga restaurants Volare and Spuntino, said he was looking to do something different with Comida.

The bar will have the relaxed atmosphere of a pub and the high quality food of a restaurant, Mr Barattieri said.

A north-facing courtyard with an outdoor fireplace would be a feature of the bar.

Real estate agent Rob Pinney, of Bayleys Tauranga, was planning to sell the remaining four units at auction next week, unless they sold privately beforehand.

"Every aspect of design and function for this hospitality hub has been conceived to maximise the relationship with the park, the busy waterfront street and, from upstairs, the harbour outlook," he said.

"With established hospitality operators quick to sign long-term leases on space within The Strand building, and the project coming in on schedule ahead of the busy summer season, interest from property investors has been extremely positive."

Additional reporting Colin Taylor

- Bay of Plenty Times

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