One of Wellington’s oldest cafes, the Green Parrot, is up for sale – and long-time customer Winston Peters says he is “terribly disappointed”.
The café, which first opened in 1926, has been in the family of father and son team Kosta and Chris Sakoufakis for 50 years.
“A true Wellington icon, it’s been a favourite of politicians, actors, rugby fans and the late-night dining crowd,” the Trade Me description reads.
One of this crowd is New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, who has been a regular at the Green Parrot since the 70s.
“It used to be open even when Parliament had closed that night at 10.30pm or 10pm,” he told the Herald.
“And so when you were hungry you could still get a meal and that was very difficult in the political sense - but it also had character and a lot of famous people were on that wall at the back of it over the years.”
He said he would be sad to see the Sakoufakis’ go, and wished them all the best in the future.
“They used to have a marvellous flounder there, they cooked it properly of course and the prices were very reasonable and that’s the reason why it had so much character.
“They found a table for you, for your guests and they’ve been a great adjunct to Wellington over the years and I am very sad to see them go.”
Peters said the sale is indicative of the wider economy.
“It’s a very sad commentary, as we’ve been travelling the country the last two years we’re seeing a lot of businesses like that closing. It’s a sign the economy is in trouble.”
Reminiscing on his memories in the cafe, Peters said his “greatest regret” was allowing a colleague to take his place on a visit to the Green Parrot while famous Greek singer and politician Nana Mouskouri was dining there.
“I’ve always regretted it because I missed a great event that happened there - somebody with such a huge international name had come to the Green Parrot one night and the person I gave the dance to, I said to him, ‘boy, you owe me big time’.”
Chris Sakoufakis told the Herald the sale is the sign of a new era – retirement for his father.
“We look forward to serving familiar faces in the coming weeks and are excited to see this iconic Wellington establishment head into its 100th birthday!”
Vita Molyneux is a Wellington-based journalist who covers breaking news and stories from the capital. She has been a journalist since 2018 and joined the Herald in 2021.