Cook set to be steady when stirred

23:47, Jan 21 2013
The Cook
Unshakeable: The Cook owner Chris Rollitt who spent heavily to reinforce his building to earthquake standards.

One of Hamilton's oldest buildings is now one of the strongest after extensive earthquake-proofing renovations.

The Cook cafe and bar in Hamilton East is housed in the city's second oldest building and, after being strengthened with concrete and steel, it is braced and ready for whatever the tectonic plates throw at it.

To the naked eye, The Cook looks much the same as before. There are no new furnishings, no new wall coverings or hangings, and the staff are still smiling and serving food and pints of brew as normal.

But a whopping $80,000 renovation has owner Chris Rollitt feeling confident that, if the worst was to strike, his building would still be standing.

Mr Rollitt bought the 138-year-old building in October and, as a condition of his bank loan, was asked to make the building earthquake-proof.

And, although the amount of renovating seemed a bit over the top, Mr Rollitt thinks it was a necessary cost to ensure his patrons' safety.

"We knew we had to do it," he said. "The sheer amount of concrete and steel under the building seemed to be a little bit excessive, but you just have to put your faith in the engineers that they know what they are doing."

Mr Rollitt estimates that closing the business for five days, to allow the renovations to take place, resulted in a $30,000 loss of revenue.