Hard Rock Cafe coming to Viaduct this summer

By Steve Deane

Could Kermadec's old space at the waterfront be about to get a rockin' makeover? Photo / APN
Could Kermadec's old space at the waterfront be about to get a rockin' makeover? Photo / APN

Ribs, burgers and the sound of rock 'n' roll will replace big eye tuna and whole east coast crayfish when a Hard Rock Cafe moves into the Viaduct Harbour location vacated by the Kermadec restaurant.

A United States-based Hard Rock Cafe spokesman confirmed to the Herald plans for an Auckland franchise were well advanced and it would open later this year.

"Our franchisee has secured premises in the Auckland CBD and signed a lease in November 2013," the spokesman said.

The location is the former site of fine dining restaurant Kermadec, which closed its doors in late January after 20 years in the prime location.

A sign on the staircase to the restaurant says it is now a construction site, however there is no evidence yet of a transformation into a Hard Rock Cafe.

Bar staff at Snap Dragon, which is below the former Kermadec restaurant, said a Hard Rock Cafe was expected to be opened in time for next summer.

The jobseeker.co.nz website has a listing for a cafe general manager, saying: "It's about delivering authentic experiences that rock".

Kermadec's website said it would reopen later this year at a new location.

"Inspiration for the development has been drawn from Kermadec's unbeatable location and New Zealand's first class seafood and fresh produce," the website states.

With more than 170 establishments spread throughout 50 countries, Hard Rock Cafes offer a combination of rock music memorabilia and southern-slanted American cuisine.

At the London Hard Rock diners can muse over Eric Clapton's Lead II Fender guitar - the first piece of memorabilia donated to the chain - while munching away on potato skins and "legendary" burgers.

The Auckland venture isn't the first time the franchise has attempted to gain a foothold in New Zealand. Queenstown's Hard Rock Cafe opened in May 2001 but survived less than four years.

"We are confident that our new location in Auckland will enjoy longtime success in the city," Hard Rock's spokesman said.

Kermadec co-owner Peter Simunovich did not return a call from the Herald, and the restaurant's marketing manager Clay Reeve did not respond to an email.

The first Hard Rock Cafe was launched in London's Old Park Lane in 1971.

Since then the chain has spread far and wide.

Dave Dobbyn's jersey from the Loyal video would go down well at the Hard Rock Cafe.
Dave Dobbyn's jersey from the Loyal video would go down well at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Royals and Loyals

Kiwi rock memorabilia we'd love to see at the Auckland Hard Rock Cafe

1. Ray Columbus's horn-rimmed spectacles
2. A selection of Lorde's deleted tweets
3. A vinyl copy of Push Push's hit single Trippin' signed by Mikey Havoc
4. A Shihad T-shirt from the 2002 Big Day Out that indicated the band had changed its name to Remote but that name was taken so it went for Pacifier.
5. Dave Dobbyn's jersey from the Loyal video.
6. The special blue glass syringe of German origin Hello Sailor sang about in Blue Lady.

- NZ Herald

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