Ekim takes a central spot
A popular Wellington burger bar has traded the sea air of Lyall Bay for the buzz of Cuba St.
Once housed in a humble orange caravan at Lyall Bay's eastern end, Ekim Burgers became a firm favourite with surfers and beach walkers.
However, owner Mike Duffy said the business had outgrown its beach roots and small premises. "On a busy day it was too busy, and on a quiet day it was just too quiet. We needed to find somewhere more stable.
"The Lyall Bay community will always be very dear to me."
The burger joint has now moved to an empty lot in upper Cuba St, where Duffy has taken out a five-year lease.
Expansion plans include a garden, food preparation zone and a seating area, which will be housed inside shipping containers.
A resource consent assessment noted that, "while the proposal does not meet many of the design guide rules, the development does attempt to reactivate both the Cuba St and Abel Smith St frontage at this location, while also providing a potentially new gathering space where there is currently a car park".
Duffy said he was pleased Wellington City Council had recognised the need to revitalise the area.
He was also enjoying the luxury of operating from a more established site. "Logistically it's so much better. You can just turn on the tap and you've got hot water."
Upper Cuba St has seen an explosion of eateries lately, with Grill Meats Beer, and Laundry, also setting up shop.
"Cuba St is losing the reputation it had about 10 years ago, and it's fast becoming the place to go and eat and drink with your mates," Duffy said.
He hoped to eventually get a new caravan for the beaches.
Restaurant Association president Mike Egan said upper Cuba St was becoming well established as a dining hub.
"Probably 10 or 15 years ago it was a bit tawdry. But that meant rent was cheap, so restaurants and cafes have moved there and helped rejuvenate it."
The Dominion Post