Delayed restaurant refit to start

After many months of getting multiple consents, Ode Conscious Dining has building consent to...
After many months of getting multiple consents, Ode Conscious Dining has building consent to refit its interior and owner Lucar Parkinson said it would repoen at the end of June. Photo: Sean Nugent
It has been nine long months since a fire gutted Wanaka restaurant Ode Conscious Dining, but now it is preparing to reopen.

A fire caused by combusting tea towels significantly damaged the restaurant last August, which required a full refit of its interior.

It had been hoped to reopen last November, but owner and head chef Lucas Parkinson said that plan had to be scrapped as the entire building in Post Office Lane was put through a long and rigorous consent process.

The restaurant now has building consent, and the interior will be refitted over the next six weeks, the aim being to reopen on June 29.

Mr Parkinson admitted the long wait had been tough.

"It's been frustrating. There's been anxiety, there's been depression.

"There's been a fear of everything we've built, having to walk away from it."

However, he said he was humbled by the support he had received from the Wanaka community.

"People didn't know we had insurance, and so the day after the fire I had 10 to 20 businesses asking if they could help fundraise for us.

"Builders came forth and said they'd work for free. Plumbers, electricians, everyone. The local community support was huge and it was something I'd never experienced before. It was really, really humbling.

"Walking around the streets for the first two weeks I couldn't take five steps without someone stopping me and giving me a hug or some kind words. There's a really beautiful side to this community."

The restaurant will not be the same as it was.

Mr Parkinson said there would be major changes to the kitchen and dining areas, and it would be open for breakfast, in addition to its dinner service.

Those changes came at a price.

Mr Parkinson and his wife, Larissa McDonough, sold their home to fund the changes that would not be covered by insurance and make the restaurant "more of an amazing space".

"We want to come back at the same level as we left and keep pushing higher. World top 50, world top 100 lists, that's what we're going for.

" Shoot for the moon and if you miss you're among the stars."

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