Despite a continuing four-year insurance “nightmare” over their central Christchurch restaurant, pizzeria Spagalimis is moving to new premises nearby.
The locally-owned business initially reopened its leased Victoria St restaurant after the earthquakes, but damage saw it close again. The building remains fenced off, with its owner still in negotiations with its insurer.
Spagalimis owners Richard Winter and Andrew Cooper have bought the business of Harlequin Public House in the next block, on the corner of Victoria and Salisbury sts, from restaurateur Jonny Schwass.
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They will reopen Spagalimis there by mid-May. The new premises are owned by investors who previously ran it as Ironside House restaurant and bar.
Harlequin Public House served its last diners on Sunday.
Winter said they liked the character of the late 19th century former homestead, and it was “great to finally find a building that had synergies with our pizzeria”. It will seat 100 diners.
“Ironside House is a beautiful heritage building that is comfortable and interesting, and suits our brand.”
Winter said their insurance issues over four years were a nightmare and caused stress and strain. They fought hard to try and keep the business ticking over.
The problems were with their business interruption and material damage insurance cover.
“The insurance fight will continue in the background but now we are focused on moving forward and once again having a presence in the CBD,” he said.
“The issues have not been resolved and this makes the move financially very difficult.
“We feel that we are the custodians of the brand and moving forward into the new site is going to protect the business.”
Five suburban Spagalimis outlets, including four franchises, remained open in the meantime.
Spagalimis was first established at the corner of Colombo and Kilmore streets in 1978. Owners Jim and Sue Lysaght then moved it to Victoria St.
Members of the Lysaght family own Aveley Company Ltd, which owns the fenced-off Victoria St building.
Winter and Cooper have owned Spagalimis since the 1990. It is the city’s oldest pizzeria and believed to be the city’s oldest restaurant.