Derek Allomes has risen from his pandemic-imposed time on the couch watching Netflix ready to fight for his popular Ohakune eatery.
The Blind Finch, Hamburgeria, founded by Allomes in 2016, is undergoing diversification and will soon include a speciality bakery.
"I lost the year-old Rotorua restaurant to Covid and I was damned if I would lose Ohakune as well," he said.
"I told myself that I would not be beaten by a virus."
Allomes said it was extremely hard to lose his Rotorua staff and customers which is why he is so determined to keep the Ohakune Blind Finch going.
"It was a deep emotional loss as well as a financial one and it was hard to deal with," he said.
"I have come back with a driving passion to beat Covid's effects in Ohakune."
When he reopened his Goldfinch St premises for click and collect service in May, he thought hard about the small dining room which seated a maximum of 40 diners.
"When we moved to level 2, it just would not have been worth opening it again for the few diners that would have been permitted under social distancing rules and I decided the space would be better utilised as a bakery.
"I left school to be a baker and I was that 15-year-old who got pelted with balls of dough during my initiation. Now it's time to combine my experience of baking and cheffing."
Allomes plans to open the Blind Finch Bakehouse on June 24 which is the fourth anniversary of the Hamburgeria opening.
There will be sourdough breads, gourmet pies and individual cheesecakes for sale.
"I have a couple of sourdough bugs developing and I have given them names," Allomes said.
"There is an artisan one that I have named 'Audrey' inspired by 'Little Shop of Horrors' and a white one that I have called 'Victoria' after the Exponents song."
The Blind Finch experienced a very busy Queen's Birthday weekend and Allomes predicts that Ohakune has some busy months ahead.
"There are a lot of people about and I think Ohakune is well-placed to recover from the pandemic crisis but I'm also thinking about the possibility of another outbreak.
"I really hope that doesn't happen but I want to make sure we can keep operating if it should."
The Blind Finch was the supreme award winner of the Whanganui Chamber of Commerce Regional Business Awards in 2018.
To celebrate its anniversary and the opening of the bakery, The Blind Finch will be offering vouchers for free pies and entries will be via the Facebook page.