The tough Christchurch hospitality market has claimed more victims, with the award-winning Cook’N With Gas and the attached Astro Lounge on Worcester Boulevard the latest to go into liquidation.
“No-one wants to buy a failing business,” said Cook’N With Gas owner Kate Kennedy. “Fine dining is gone, it’s dead; people are more informal.”
Kennedy founded the restaurant in 1998 with husband Bruce Griffiths and won multiple local and national awards. After business initially picked up after the earthquakes, it slowed since 2016, and it became increasingly tough to run once Kennedy was diagnosed with cancer.
Kennedy blamed the downturn on a range of factors, including roadworks, a lack of central-city residents, a slow rebuild, tighter licensing laws, too many new openings and a move away from fine dining. The March 15 mosque attacks were the final straw.
“No-one wanted to come into town.”
Twelve staff lost their jobs, and while they were paid their wages, they were not given holiday pay.
“Restaurant after restaurant after restaurant in the city – good restaurants – are just dying. It’s so tough on staff, suppliers, on us.”
The closure is the latest in a long line, with The Villas, Bamboozle, The Good Goat and Rockstar Pizza all going under in recent months.