Loss of Mercury Plaza food court rocks musician, who wrote a song about the rough-and-ready eatery.

Todd Williams faces a major decision every time he visits Mercury Plaza: Does he get the vegetarian Pad Thai, or the tofu, vegetables and rice?

"It's easy, simple dining. I appreciate that," says the Auckland rapper, tucking into a steaming plate of greens.

"You'll come down here and see someone in their pyjamas. There's something really comfortable about it."

The heavily tattooed artist, who performs under the name Louie Knuxx, likes the rough-and-ready food court so much, he sometimes eats there up to four times a week.


But his devotion to "Mercs" doesn't stop there - he wrote a song about it for his latest album Tiny Warm Hearts, and a music video shot inside the venue is due for release soon.

Called Mercury Plaza, it's the stand out track on an album full of his signature style, one he calls "sedate rap".

He readily admits his newfound love of emotional, moody, reflective hip-hop has alienated fans of his grimier early albums, which he no longer listens to or performs when he plays live.

"With previous projects, I would have said, 'That's too many love songs.' You can't have too many on one album, especially with rap," he says.

"But then I was like, 'Yes I can.' If that's what I want to write about, that's what I'm going to do, and I don't care."

Williams believes Mercury Plaza, which compares the "comfort and ugliness" of the food court to a damaged relationship, is his best song yet.

It was a late addition to Tiny Warm Hearts, with Williams rebooking a studio and reordering the tracklist to fit it on.

"I love the subject matter. It's sad and it's romantic, and they're my favourite things," he says.

So he's understandably upset that Mercury Plaza, a location as familiar to K Rd regulars as St Kevin's Arcade or the Vegas Girl billboard, is earmarked for closure because of Auckland Transport's City Rail Link.

Communications manager Carol Greensmith says the site will be used as a "laydown area for trucks and equipment" while the Karangahape train station is built underground during the project's second phase, scheduled for 2019.

But it isn't going down without a fight: A Save Mercury Plaza Facebook page has been set up and a petition to "save the eatery and ensure the long term preservation of this New Zealand icon" has earned more than 2500 signatures.

Williams, who wrote the song before the closure was mooted, says the news about his favourite dinner destination rocked him.

"I was really bummed out, initially selfishly, because of how it would affect me, but after the news I was looking at the people working here. Some of them have had businesses for 20 years.

"That makes me sad - sadder than not being able to order food whenever I want," he says.

He knows there are other food courts within walking distance of his Arch Hill home. But he likes that he can show up to Mercury Plaza no matter what state he's in.

"I don't like Ponsonby Food Court, or Ponsonby Central," he says..

He ponders his options, then laughs: "Maybe I'll learn to cook."