New owners for Colenso cafe

20:33, Mar 11 2014
colenso Cafe
SOLD UP: Owners Andy and Ruth Pettit are moving on after 25 years at Colenso Cafe.

New management will soon team up with the existing crew at the Coromandel Peninsula's iconic Colenso Cafe.

The cafe, located at Whenuakite near Whitianga, was put up for tender in February and the owners have now chosen a buyer.

The new owners, Judy and Gary Inglis have a background in hospitality, having previously owned Smitty's Sports Bar and Grill in Whitianga.

Owners Ruth and Andy Pettit have run the cafe for 25 years, and will hand over ownership on April 15.

The cafe will continue to operate as Colenso, a decision that Ruth Pettit says is supported by the locals.

As well as a loyal local customer base, Colenso serves a lot of tourists on their way through, including providing picnic lunches for a local tourism business.

The current staff will also remain, including longstanding chef Carol Whitford.

"They're [the Inglis couple] very lucky to have such a great team," said Pettit.

Before the cafe was built a quarter century ago, the Pettits ran a citrus orchard on the property. They decided to expand into the cafe business because income from the orchard wasn't reliable enough on its own.