The esxterior of The Villas restaurant in Christchurch

A restaurant in the Christchurch city centre, which survived both earthquakes, has been forced to close because of the city’s struggling hospitality scene. The announcement was made on social media.

“With great sadness and a heavy heavy heart, The Villas business has had to close today,” read the post on The Villas Facebook page. “Christchurch post-earthquake has been a most challenging environment to operate in – nothing is normal, difficult decisions are made every day and the central city still has a way to go in re-establishing itself and finding its mojo again.”

Housed in a pair of blue and yellow Victorian villas opposite the Christchurch Arts Centre, The Villas was receiving rave reviews right up until it closed. Insolvency Matters liquidator Brenton Hunt is due to release his first report on Friday.

Two weeks ago saw the launch of the #ExploreChristchurch campaign, encouraging residents to return to the central city and support local business following a spate of closings. Harlequin Public House, Tequila Mockingbird, Rockstar Pizza, Chopped, The Good Goat, and Iconic Club and Bar have all shut their doors this year, with closures being blamed on a lack of central city residents, events and venues to draw in customers during the winter months.