The doors shut to Hutchinson’s eight years ago, as well as the Municipal Building and beloved Assembly Hall, due to the building being earthquake prone.
Now the Municipal Building (‘Muni’) is springing back to life as part of the overall Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts & Events Centre rebuild project that began in 2016, costing over $45 million.
The ground floor has been transformed into three hospitality offerings, as well as being home to Hastings District Council’s new i-site visitor centre and a contemporary art gallery. After a nationwide promotion to attract new hospitality offerings, three well respected local hospitality identities have stepped up to the main stage.
They will showcase the best of local food, wine and craft beer in modern, chic venues more commonly enjoyed while in the big smokes of Auckland, Wellington or Melbourne. As well as street frontage onto Heretaunga Street, the Muni also opens out onto a newly created outdoor laneway connecting to the Hawke’s Bay Opera House.
Kristy Isaacson’s Long Island Delicatessen is nestled on the corner of Hastings Street and Heretaunga Street, alongside Akina Gallery, a new entrance foyer, Master of Wine Michael Henley’s Cellar 495 boutique wine cellar and bar, and then Damon McGinniss’ Craft & Social at the western end.
Damon McGinniss is raring to go and share his passion and craftsmanship as the owner and chef of Craft & Social.
“I’m really passionate about my industry and always look at all aspects of it as a craft, whether that’s creating food or being front of house with customers. Ultimately, people get together to enjoy well-crafted food and drinks in a social environment.”
Damon says he was prepared to significantly invest in establishing a new hospitality style with the confidence of the CBD’s revitalisation and council’s investment in the stunning Municipal Building.
He has eyed a gap in the market and likens Craft & Social to well-known celebrity chef Al Brown’s Depot Eatery in Auckland.
“The food will be flavour-driven small plates to share; it’s a style that I love doing.
“The Hastings CBD is going forward big time; more and more is happening and people now have a much wider choice and I’m ready to give it my all.
“I wanted to create a cool place to enjoy some food, beer or wine, where people can chill and have a good time.”
Kristy Isaacson experience and success in ‘ready to go’ food has led her to creating the Long Island Delicatessen which will offer takeaway lunch options such as a fresh salad bar, proteins, baked goods and sandwiches along with Havana coffee, sodas and smoothies.
Kristy has established a couple of other café and food offerings in the past and says that the Municipal Building setting is like no other in the Bay, replicating funky hospitality precincts usually found in larger CBDs in Auckland and Melbourne.
Long Island Delicatessen opens in mid-July and Kristy says it will be a fun place to call into and pick up something fresh and tasty to eat or drink to take back to the office, or to enjoy in the window seating or in the laneway.
“The building is awesome, and I really bought into the vision of council and councillors to create a new place to gather in town. The brick laneway is a stunning addition and will be well utilised.”
She is also excited about the complementary offerings of the new wine bar and Craft & Social.
“We are all different but will benefit from each other. I’m not licenced but the other two hospo offerings are, so together we offer a mix of healthy takeaway food options through to places that you can sit back and enjoy a meal or drink.”
Council group manager corporate Bruce Allan, who was the project lead for the Municipal Building restoration, says council is delighted at the range and quality of the businesses that have signed up as foundation tenants.
“We have secured world-class businesses run by people who are experienced leaders in their fields and council looks forward to introducing them in detail in the coming months.”
Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst says the introduction of the new tenants heralded another fantastic step forward for Hastings.
“Our city centre already has a stellar line-up of hospitality and retail businesses and we know these exciting new additions in the Municipal Building will appeal to Hawke’s Bay locals and visitors, and further enhance our great central city offering.”