A new eatery will bring a modern twist to one of Whanganui's restored heritage buildings.

Luton Gleeson is opening Vault Bar & Eatery in the old Bank of New Zealand building at 26 Victoria Ave.

"I've always loved this building," Gleeson said.

"We're bringing a modern pub theme to Whanganui but we're respecting the building's heritage and bringing a bit of old Whanganui into the building as well with some historic photos.


"The food will be about eating together, sharing plates. It's a vehicle for bringing like-minded people together. Lively conversation and raucous laughter will be promoted here. We want people socialising and getting to know each other a lot more.

"It will be modern cuisine and we will use local produce. There will be some dishes from Paleo Antics [owned by Gleeson's wife Janeen] and we will cater for coeliacs and vegans.

"We have 22 sharing plates on the menu, from slow-roasted barbecue pork to beetroot and gin-cured salmon and short rib brisket sliders. We'll have a brunch menu and we'll also cater for children."

Gleeson is employing 10 to 15 staff including "a couple of amazing baristas". The coffee is from Christchurch's Vivace Espresso.

"We're painting up the old bank vault and we'll have glass cabinets in there where people can choose their wines," Gleeson said.

"We also have the beautiful courtyard and want people to utilise it. We'll still cater for functions and weddings and we have a small meeting room for conferences."

Gleeson has about 30 years' experience in hospitality, including at the former Legends Restaurant in Somme Parade and Bushy Park Homestead. He also spent three years running the Heartland Hotel in Fox Glacier and ran the Caboose Hotel in Taupō.

He ran a food and wine festival at Bushy Park for several years and plans to reintroduce a food and wine festival to Whanganui.


The business will open during the week beginning Monday, November 12, though Gleeson has not yet confirmed the opening day. It will be open seven days a week from 10am to 11pm.