Fresh start for city cafe

18:55, Feb 04 2013
Cafe Olive
CAFE OLIVE: The central Nelson eatery will reopen later this month with a new owner and new menu.

A Nelson cafe is set to re-open with a new menu this month after a change in ownership.

Cafe Olive on Hardy St temporarily closed its doors last week, with the family who had run it for the last three years giving up the lease.

Business owner Engin Akbaba said an Auckland man was moving to Nelson to take up the lease to run the cafe, and he expected it to open in the next few weeks.

Cafe Olive
FAREWELL: A sign left on the front door of the cafe by the previous owners.

The man had plenty of experience running cafes and restaurants, he said.

He expected the cafe to re-open with a new menu, with Kiwi dishes alongside the traditional Meditteranean meals it had already served, he said.

The cafe would be open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.


Since 2010 the cafe has been run by husband and wife Musti Cilekar and Kirsty Webster, and family member Emry Bozkurt.

Ms Webster said they had planned to finish at the end of February, but personal matters had brought that time forward.

The business had gone through an extremely difficult winter, and then summer had not met their expectations, she said.

"It didn't happen as we were expecting it to."

The cafe had been their "whole life" for the last two years, and the team had only had two days off during that time, she said.

She was proud of the cafe's finalist spots in the Nelson Top Shop Awards and the Hospitality New Zealand awards.

"We have really put our all into it."

Their regular customers had all been very sad to hear of their decision, she said.

"The feedback we had from customers is that we brought a really great atmosphere and they really enjoyed coming."

They were all taking a break to regroup and look for "real jobs", but would be returning to the hospitality industry with a new venture at some stage.

"We have learned so much, really enjoyed meeting all the people we have, the customers and the people we have worked with."

"We're really sad to leave but we're really positive about the future."