Business rebuilds after tragedy

JOHN EDENS
Last updated 12:29 06/08/2014
pedro carazo
JOHN EDENS/ Fairfax NZ

START-UP: Pedro's House of Lamb director Damian Brown and a tray of slow-cooked shoulders.

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He lost a son and a business in the 2011 Canterbury earthquake. Now Pedro Carazo is in business in Queenstown.

Christchurch-based Spanish restaurateur Pedro Carazo, who lost his son, his business and his home in the 2011 quake, has opened a unique takeaway outlet in Queenstown.

Pedro's House of Lamb Queenstown opened a couple of weeks ago as a sister outlet to the Christchurch restaurant, an institution and one of the oldest eateries in the city.

Interestingly, the company's new outlet is offering a single product - a signature slow-cooked dish of takeaway Spanish-influenced lamb shoulder and scalloped potatoes.

Carazo told the Mirror times had been tough but he was excited to open a new business in Queenstown, a place he loved and visited often.

"It's been very difficult, through the earthquake I lost my house, I lost my business, the most important I lost my son."

Queenstown was his only other restaurant outside of Christchurch at the moment.

"It's quite an exciting adventure. We came up with the idea of Pedro's House of Lamb. That's how I started [a temporary restaurant] in Christchurch. I always spend time in Queenstown. I love the scenery. It's always been a place for me in my heart. The idea is great, the lamb is beautiful. Everyone is surprised it's a takeaway but Queenstown, I love the place. I think it's going to be great."

Queenstown director Damian Brown, who worked for Pedro for years, is at the helm and they've brought chefs and extended family down from Christchurch.

Ovens were custom-built and the fit out chimes with the parent restaurant.

In just two weeks, word-of-mouth has led to a couple of nights where they sold out and a steady stream of punters keen to explore what's on offer.

Social media helped drive the move to Queenstown and after market research the team decided to offer one product, slow cooked fall-off-the-bone baby shoulder and perfect scalloped potatoes, Brown said. A $15 lunch option is also available.

"We thought we'd open somewhere else. The lamb that we sell is one of the signature dishes at the restaurant. We found this spot, I moved here with my family and the pieces started falling into place by themselves. Instead of franchising we wanted to do the same thing, the real thing.

"The concept - to have a takeaway restaurant quality meal, a gourmet takeaway. The feedback has been amazing, we never expected the feedback. I'm humbled."

The company in Queenstown is run by Brown, his wife Maria de Leon, Carazo and Inaki Sanchez.

Pedro's in Christchurch is the city's top-ranked TripAdvisor eatery out of 525 restaurants and has won numerous awards for the quality of its dining.

Carazo's son Christian was killed in the Canterbury 2011 earthquake and the restaurateur has spent the last couple of years rebuilding the business after the tragedy.

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