TONY'S RESTAURANT IN AUCKLAND (2020): Home away from home, endangered

 |   |  1 min read

TONY'S RESTAURANT IN AUCKLAND (2020): Home away from home, endangered

There’s a scene that has played out hundreds of times at Tony’s restaurant on Wellesley Street in central Auckland. I’ve witnessed it frequently.

A young person, possibly a student, asks if there’s any chance of waiting work. Often they are anxious and looking for their first paying job, maybe presenting what passes for a CV at their age.

But time and again they encounter Donna, who is front-of-house, a smiling, generous and considerate woman who faithfully takes their names and numbers, lets them down gently if need be, but offers that glimmer of encouragement that sends them away reassured they’ve been heard.

Sometimes on subsequent visits I’ve seen the same young women carrying meals and clearing tables.

For Donna, these kids are like family. For owner Kenn Henderson – who has run Tony’s for more than four decades – the restaurant is like home, as it for his son Kelson, who also works there.

But now Tony’s is in trouble.

Last week when I dropped in for a catch-up with friends over steak’n’beers, Kenn told me business was 50% of what it had been before Covid lockdown and the central city was torn up for the City Rail Link and other construction work.

I chatted with Kelson briefly about the orange cones, fluoro jackets and chaos outside that has turned city streets in no-go areas, closed roads and made for wary walking. It’s killing places like Tony’s.

Maybe I have spent too much time at Tony’s but . . .

To read the rest of this love letter to Tony's go to The Spinoff here

b83192387d2c8ee2e49fa3c56d3ad0ff_1594714610

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Something articles index

Neil Finn and Jim Carter: Blue Smoke (2015)

Neil Finn and Jim Carter: Blue Smoke (2015)

When the recording of Blue Smoke by the Ruru Karaitiana Quintette was released in February 1949, the Second World War had only been over for around three and half years. The memories of loved... > Read more

ANOTHER 10 ODD UNPLAYED ALBUMS IN THE COLLECTION (2016): Make them stop!

ANOTHER 10 ODD UNPLAYED ALBUMS IN THE COLLECTION (2016): Make them stop!

In a previous column I wrote with some embarrassment about 10 odd unplayed albums which had sat on my shelves for many, many years. Decades in some instances. And many of them never even getting... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WATERMELON SLIM INTERVIEWED (2007): He's had interesting lives

WATERMELON SLIM INTERVIEWED (2007): He's had interesting lives

“You tell them this,” says 58-year old bluesman Watermelon Slim in a voice which sounds like he has been gargling whisky-soaked nails. “God has blessed me with an extremely full... > Read more

EPs by Yasmin Brown

EPs by Yasmin Brown

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column by the informed and opinionated Yasmin Brown. She will scoop up some of those many EP releases, in... > Read more