Abracadabra, new owners for venue

By Katie Holland

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Celebrating the changing of the guard at Abracadabra are, from left, departing owner Brendon Arkwright and new owners Nadia Glyn Goldbert and Justin Kala Genest. Photo / Ben Fraser
Celebrating the changing of the guard at Abracadabra are, from left, departing owner Brendon Arkwright and new owners Nadia Glyn Goldbert and Justin Kala Genest. Photo / Ben Fraser

The new owners of Rotorua's Abracadabra Cafe & Bar are the perfect pair to take the colourful local favourite to the next level, according to its founder.

Nadia Glyn Goldbert - a former Miss Rotorua - has returned to her home town after nine years travelling the world, bringing with her Hawaiian partner Justin Kala Genest.

The couple bought the Mexican/Moroccan themed local favourite from original owners Brendon and Anne Arkwright, flew back three weeks ago (the dog they rescued in Panama arrived this week) and take over from Monday.

Miss Goldbert said she and her partner, who she met in Los Angeles when she asked him for directions, had always dreamed of having their own cafe or restaurant.

They celebrated Mr Genest's 30th birthday at Abracadabra two years ago and it was her parents' favourite spot for "date night", she said.

They visited again in December, after hearing it was on the market, and liked what they saw.

"It's uniqueness, the way it's set up . . . it's different and cool," Miss Goldbert said.

The couple plan to retain the name, staff and menu favourites with a focus on providing excellent Kiwi service and building on the foundation laid by the Arkwrights.

They intend to get to know the regular customers before a big relaunch on July 1.

The Arkwrights started Abracadabra more than six years ago - aiming to create a fun venue that would have a lasting impact on Rotorua.

"We're about halfway there," Mr Arkwright said.

"They [the new owners] will take it where we couldn't."

He said he and his wife were ready to get out of hospitality but had been waiting for the right people to take over.

The new owners were "kindred spirits" with their love of travelling and were younger and better looking, he joked.

He admitted there was a sense of nostalgia leaving it behind, but it was great to leave it in a "good place".

The Arkwrights are also closing their Eruera St Moroccan furniture store The Souq at the end of the month.

Their new business venture will be a larger store importing exotic furniture and decor from around the world, which they hope to base in Rotorua once a location is found.

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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