Main St switches on its dining experience

ROSEMARY MCLENNAN
Last updated 11:19 13/06/2012
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ROSEMARY McLENNAN
All lit up: Southern Main St at 6pm on a May week night. Taking this photo took some time because the street was so busy with traffic.
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ROSEMARY McLENNAN
Capital touch: Diners say Art of Pizza brings the bright atmosphere of Wellington to Main St.

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Upper Hutt Leader

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A dining destination Upper Hutt people are proud to embrace is becoming one of Main St's strengths.

While the majority of Upper Hutt's citizens work in Lower Hutt and Wellington, they all come home at night and they all have to eat.

Part of the Upper Hutt Leader's strategic thinking has been Main St as a destination for dining out or for take-home meals.

Several years ago we organised a hospitality meeting where we shared our vision, and mounted a campaign in the wider Wellington area to entice people to our wonderful dining and climate.

On fine days Upper Hutt is a great place for outside dining in the central business district, without the worry of it being ruined by the wind, says our manager, Jenny Russell.

"The owners of our restaurants, cafes and takeaway facilities are friendly and hospitable, wanting to foster the sense of community Upper Hutt is all about and getting to know you and your dining needs.

"We think we can grow this industry in Upper Hutt and become very much a destination but we need buy-in of the other parties.

"We welcome the addition of new business Art of Pizza and Travancore alongside the existing wide range of dining choices.

"I believe that once we get a good mix of eateries established here lifestyle attractions will follow as they have done in many other areas."

Art of Pizza owner Chris Chevalier says the response since his opening a fortnight ago has been "fantastic".

Many people had told him the south end of Main St needed more eateries.

Comments on opening night included that Art of Pizza brought the bright atmosphere of Wellington to Main St.

Mr Chevalier has been introducing himself to other central business district eatery owners and hopes everyone can work to support each other.

Another newcomer, Sebastian Thomas from Kerala-South Indian food restaurant Travancore in King St, says the reaction to their opening was "beyond our expectations".

People had told him Upper Hutt was the wrong part of the Hutt Valley to open a restaurant in but he has found locals very supportive.

Nirmal Singh, who owns long- time Indian restaurant Curry Work, says he is seeing more dining activity than usual on many nights.

He believes there is a change away from people dining where they work.

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Customers have responded well to promotions he has been involved in which have brought in new diners from Karori, Kilbirnie, Whitby and Plimmerton.

He also has customers travelling from Wellington to the Wairarapa who phone takeaway orders through and pick them up on the way.

Cafe Romeo owner Romeo Jovanovic says greater choice is good but he wonders how all can do well unless the number of people dining out increases.

But he thinks Upper Hutt eateries are doing well compared to many other places.

His cafe is busiest during the day and night-time dining is a bonus.

His diners enjoy sitting outdoors on summer evenings and during fine winter days.

- Upper Hutt Leader

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