Recovery: What's back we love

20:04, Feb 21 2013
Dux Dine

Many businesses were closed after the February 2011 earthquake and large sections of the city had been cordoned off or flattened. ABBIE NAPIER has compiled a list of "quintessentially Christchurch" institutions we can now all visit once again.

For those of us who enjoyed the lifestyle Christchurch once had to offer, the last two years have been pretty tough going.

The earthquake saw many local businesses close for good. Overnight, our regular haunts and favourite spots were gone. In their place rose up quirky and creative ventures, both temporary and permanent.

Those temporary new spots have done a lot for Christchurch - adding that bit of pizzazz it so dearly needed before. Coffee caravans, fields of poppies and haphazard fairy lights have become the new face of the old city.

These projects are fabulous, but what is most inspiring for me right now, is the number of businesses getting back on their feet, hunting for new homes, and opening up in a blaze of glory and frenzied public support.

The places we missed are slowing coming back, like determined, completely indestructible weeds.

Top of my list is Cafe Valentino. Once in the heart of bustling Colombo St, flanked by the ever- so-memorable Lime Bar, Cafe Valentino was an institution.

Founded on delicious pizza and Italian fare, the star-studded walls shone with all the promise of yesteryear.

The restaurant has re-opened, now on St Asaph St, and is well worth a visit, if only to wallow in some pre-quake Christchurch nostalgia under the rescued vintage memorabilia.

C1 - home of the sewing machine water dispenser (they still have that) - and the most glorious muffins Christchurch has to offer. Gone are the days of the magazine confetti ceiling, but the new spot is industrial chic plus. Check them out at 150 High St.

Before High Street was closed, C1 was great neighbours with artsy film palace, Alice in Videoland. Once across the road from one another, they now share a building.

Alice's has also opened a cinema which shows a mixture of films, some with subtitles, some without. Nothing says a trip down memory lane like popping into the video store for a 1980s action movie to accompany the Friday night takeaway food from China Kitchen.

Setting the standard in modern Kiwi-friendly Chinese food, China Kitchen re-opened on Papanui Rd, a far cry from its former Hereford St location. With everyone supposedly moving West, it does sometimes take three or four tries to place a phone order, but it's well worth the effort.

If you're up for a spot of relaxed nightlife, you can't go past the Twisted Hop. This Poplar Lane classic has set up shop in Woolston and it still offers everything you could want in your local watering hole - fine beers, and a creative selection of meals under $20.

I can't begin to cover all the super-human post-quake business efforts here, but special mention must also be made of Burgers and Beers, Under the Red Verandah, the Dux de Lux (now in two different forms), and Joe's Garage.

No doubt a few special efforts have popped into your mind too. It's easy to forget how hard it is to relocate and rebuild a business from the ground up, so don't forget to demonstrate your support next time you're feeling like a moment in a bygone era.


C1, cnr High St

(Live Matches)