Awhina Downs never thought she'd be owning and running her own cafe but a change in circumstances two years ago had pushed her into buying her own business.

"I'm on my own now with four sons and well - we've got to eat so I bought this little business."

Fortunately her little business bloomed as word got out around town.

"Word of mouth is by far the best advertising and that's what's happened here."

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Though Awhina does admit the food is very important and takes precedence.

"It must be good quality, well cooked and fabulous."

The small cafe across from Marton Park in Follet St has an attractive Parisian look to it, she has been told.

"We might be small but that makes no difference to our food, and always great coffee, and the outlook over to the park and the trees is beautiful."

Over the years Awhina has worked in cafes at top wineries including The MIssion Estate in Hawke's Bay, and in Queenstown.

One particular restaurant in Queenstown was at the Skyline attraction which features the Mountain cable car up to the restaurant and its panoramic views.

"The skyline is so special and it's always busy - such glorious views are the very best."

Awhina's cafe is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 8am to 3pm.

"It's busy but it's worth the extra effort to make the very best food," says Awhina.

Even though the cafe is still named after its former owners "Peg and Lil" Awhina said she'll keep the name.
"It sounds happy and we are so why change.''