Couple move on from successful bistro lease

By Patrick O'Sullivan

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After 13 years, foundation leaseholders Sam and Mary Orton are passing the reins to award-winning Black Barn Bistro. Photo / Warren Buckland
After 13 years, foundation leaseholders Sam and Mary Orton are passing the reins to award-winning Black Barn Bistro. Photo / Warren Buckland

Big boots are required for a business opportunity in Hawke's Bay.

Sam and Mary Orton, foundation leaseholders of award-winning Black Barn Bistro, have put the lease on the market after 13 years.

"We have loved it here - it is a complete brand and we love the setting," Mr Orton said.

"We will miss it but it is time to move on."

They also operated from Sileni Estates and last year took on the Hawke's Bay Airport cafe after a Dragons' Den-style application process saw Orton Tailored Cuisine winning the contract.

The airport company plans a multi-million dollar terminal expansion that will showcase the region as passenger numbers grow past half a million annually.

"We have plenty on and are spread reasonably thin," Mr Orton said.

"Black Barn would be well placed for a younger owner-operator to take over the lease and be there every day, driving it on."

The lease runs to 2023.

Black Barn Bistro concentrates on lunches and weddings but Mr Orton said a new operator could choose to change the business model.

Visitors are also attracted to the Black Barn vineyard by its summer market and music concerts.

The Ortons were asked to run the bistro by vineyard owners Kim Thorp and Andy Coltart, opening in April 2003.

"It has been an enormously successful partnership with the bistro constantly winning great accolades and recognition over that time," Mr Thorp said.

"We totally understand their decision, are enormously grateful for the reputation they have built and we now wish them the best for the future and look forward to the next phase of life for the bistro which we will ensure will continue to be an asset to the vibrant and ever-changing dining scene in Hawke's Bay."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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