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Pinocchio moving towns

Paul and Elly Ansell of Pinocchio are gearing up for their move to Greytown. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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Pinocchio has been a staple of Wairarapa food culture for the past six years, and a recipient of national media attention. While the Martinborough premises have served them well during this time, owners Paul and Elly Ansell thought an expansion was needed.

“In the last few years we’ve really outgrown our space, so we’ve been trying to find a new location,” head chef and owner Paul said. “There had been things popping up, but nothing really suited. Then, recently, Saluté contacted us saying they wanted to leave their lease, but not sell their business, which is great for us because we don’t want to buy their business, we just wanted their space.”

Elly and Paul moved their family to Greytown at the end of last year, with their children now going to Greytown School. The move has also prompted them to change their business hours so they better mesh with family life, and they are now offering lunchtime seatings Wednesday through Sunday.

“Greytown is busy during the day, so we can open up a daytime trade, which will work well for our family life balance, and we’ll also offer a couple of nights a week on a Friday and Saturday.”

The Martinborough premises seated 40, with 50 outside and uncovered, but at the new venue, Pinocchio will be able to seat 60 indoors, with a further 60 to 80 seats available outside, with some covered and heated.

“This increases our capacity big time during the winter, so we can fit all those people inside, rather than turn them away like we currently do.

“There are also big heaters outside on the verandas, so that’s another way for us to seat more.”

Ansell said that they had been trying to find new premises for around two years and that the move was “really, really exciting”.

“We get to spend more time with our kids, a new restaurant, and the biggest kitchen in Wairarapa.

“It’s an amazing building; the kitchen is huge. We’ll be in a great location, right on the street.”

Owing to the larger capacity, Ansell said they would be taking on some new hires in the future while keeping all their remaining staff from the old premises in Martinborough.

“All of our staff are coming with us, and they’re very happy with Greytown.

“We’ve also bought a couple of cars for our staff to commute in.”

As well as vehicles for staff, Pinocchio will hopefully be operating a shuttle bus for some of their Martinborough patrons, removing the need for the designated driver, and allowing the whole table to sample the well-curated wine list.

“We’ve been in contact with Green Jersey Cycles, who have an 11-seat shuttle van, and we’re working with them to get Martinborough customers to the restaurant, so that they won’t have to worry about designated drivers and things like that.

“We’ll put the price on at our end, so they won’t need to pay there and then, we can just settle it at the end of the month.”

Pinocchio, which will now go by “Pinocchio Restaurant and Bar”, will serve their last customers in Martinborough, albeit contactlessly and in take-away boxes, this coming Saturday, before completing the move to 83 Main St, Greytown.

The owners of Saluté announced they were ending their run in a Facebook post last Saturday.

“It should come as no surprise that the pandemic has had a significant impact on our business not to mention the hospitality industry as a whole across New Zealand … Small businesses have been particularly hard hit with many facing some very difficult decisions ahead … After much thought and consideration, we have decided to end our run at Saluté. This was not an easy decision to make as we have poured our hearts and souls into the restaurant in order to make it a success.”

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