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Space no longer deserted

Priscila Alvarez will open Coco Dessert Bar in Queen Elizabeth Park on Thursday. PHOTO/EMMA BROWN

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One woman’s love for the park and desserts has inspired her to take over the cafe space in Queen Elizabeth Park.

On Thursday Priscila Alvarez will open the doors to Coco Dessert Bar.

Originally from Chile, Alvarez came to Wairarapa 18 months ago with her husband and daughter and quickly fell in love with the region.

During their first couple of weeks while looking for a place to live, they stayed in a single room.

With a toddler who had just started to walk, Alvarez joked the park quickly became like their second home.

“The place is so pretty. We have really good memories here.”

When she saw the tender was open for the café space in the park, she applied.

Coco Dessert bar will have half “kiwi style food” and half desserts, but all with a twist.

“Something interesting for people to enjoy.”

Back home in Chile, she had a love for pastry and when she travelled, she noticed there was many different colours, tastes and ways pastries were created so started learning new techniques.

From combining her love for pastry, sweets and the park came the idea for Coco Dessert Bar.

But there will also be the classic desserts like crepes and donuts.

She knows of the trouble’s others have had with the cafe space but hopes her unique approach will meet the challenge.

She wants to make the dessert bar a type of “hub” for the park.

With so many activities going on, she wants it to become “a place for people to come and have a rest, to refill your batteries with food and drinks and then keep enjoying the park”.

She said it was important to be connected to the park, and for it not to be just a place to come for food.

When she first came to the park, she noticed there wasn’t a good place for woman to breast feed.

She said not all mums are comfortable to do it anywhere.

When she saw a corner of the café space that had privacy, she thought “this would be a perfect space for breastfeeding”.

There is ramp access and with the renovation around the lake, she has seen an increase of parents with strollers.

She hopes the dessert bar will become a place for parents to have a drink while their children are having fun as well.

With a large verandah and outdoor space, she said it was a great place to sit and enjoy the park.

Coco Dessert Bar opens on Thursday at 9.30am with a celebration on Sunday afternoon featuring music and a short ceremony.

  • Opening hours are Sunday-Monday from 9.30am to 4.30pm, and Tuesday-Saturday from 9.30am until late. For more information visit cocodessertbar.com or go on their Facebook page.


  1. Enjoyed the coffee and the view of the park and the lake from the big verandah. So good to have this beautiful venue open again. We’ ve been waiting a long time for the right person to come along. All the best. We really want you to do well.

  2. Good on you Presila and wish you much success. Coukd you have ice creams and cold drinks separately where park visitors could purchase. Just a thought.

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