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The Village Green Cafe and Bar has one of the best outlooks of any eatery in Dunedin.
With commanding views over the sports fields at Sunnyvale, it is the perfect hub for sports-related socialising, families from the local community, and as a destination. The cafe and bar also offers a great option for functions, easily catering for groups up to 300 people.
Co-owners Nicola Chisholm and partner Darren Bezett won the tender for the impressive space when the Sunnyvale Sports Centre was redeveloped three years ago. Although the Village Green Cafe and Bar opened in April 2018, an official launch was postponed due to various delays.
‘‘But we know where we’re at now, the business is going well, and we just want to get it out there,’’ Darren says.‘‘Because there are still an awful lot of people who come here and say ‘we didn’t even know this existed’.’’
But the venue has certainly already proven popular among local residents and the sporting fraternity. With great coffee, excellent cabinet food, a tempting seasonal menu with all dishes prepared in-house, and a full bar, there are many reasons to visit.
Nicola has more than two decades history working in the hospitality industry in Dunedin, and has put that experience into creating a quality environment at the Village Green Cafe and Bar.
‘‘We think it’s a really good combination of things for everyone, between the lunch and dinner menus, and the cabinet food,’’ she says. ‘‘Because sports are involved, it’s similar to the surf clubs and things like that in Australia. It’s both club but open to the public.’’
Darren says they visited a number of such establishments to gather some ideas, while on a rugby trip across the Tasman several years ago. He has a different background to Nicola, as a registered valuer with over 30 years business experience, and works behind the scenes at the cafe.
‘‘I’m a local Green Island lad, and I’ve played a lot of sport from this building,’’ Darren says. ‘‘I knew what was going on here in terms of the development, and knew a lot of the locals from around here. I think it’s a fantastic spot, with the sport, the locals, and wider Dunedin that comes here.’’
He’s keen to foster a friendly sports bar atmosphere at the Village Green Cafe and Bar, and many items from his own collection of sporting memorabilia are already on show.
With the Green Island AFC, Green Island Cricket Club, and the Sunnyvale Squash Rackets Club all combining to own the Sunnyvale Sports Centre, the cafe is obviously a hub for many sporting activities.
‘‘The other Friday night we had three T20 cricket finals being played here,’’ Darren relates. ‘‘It was a fantastic night - the sports field was full, and the bar was full of locals.’’
That’s not to mention the great, dedicated team working at Village Green Cafe and Bar, both in the kitchen and front of house.
‘‘A couple of the girls have been here right from day one,’’ Nicola says. ‘‘Our head chef has also been here from the early days. Hospo is such an up and down industry, so it’s nice to know that we have those who are loyal. And they’re all local as well.’’
Supporting local, they source as many products as possible from local suppliers and try to do their part for the community and for Dunedin.
As a venue, the cafe has hosted conferences and meetings for companies including Fulton Hogan and Downer, and also fundraisers for Ronald McDonald House, Hospice, and a night with mental health campaigner Mike King.
Nicola says they also have a coffee caravan that will be parked by the entrance on Main South Rd, so people can order their coffee using an app and easily pick it up. It can also offer hot food during winter sports mornings at Sunnyvale.
Village Green Cafe and Bar:
Open Tuesday 9.30am-4pm, Wednesday-Saturday 9.30am-late, Sunday 9.30am-5pm.
326 Main South Rd, Sunnyvale, Dunedin.
Phone (03) 488-1176 or see www.villagegreencafebar.com for more information.