East Coast Colosseum seeks new owner
The Colosseum banquet and bistro hospitality business plus freehold land and buildings just south of Gisborne city owned by television chef Mark Gardner have been placed on the market for sale.
Gisborne born and bred, Gardner’s love of food and cooking was sparked by working in his late father’s restaurant “Pete’s on the Beach” as a teenager. A keen surfer, Gardner would spend the day at Midway beach before showering at the surf club and heading to “Pete’s” where he worked as a larder chef.
Later training at Waikato Polytechnic specialising in classic French cuisine, Gardner then travelled the world cooking and surfing including stints as a personal chef to an American family in the Hamptons, and spells on super yachts in the Mediterranean, Bahamas and Caribbean. .
He was thrust into the media spotlight with a role co-hosting the show “Surfing the Menu” which screened on TV3 showing Gardner travelling throughout New Zealand with Australian chef Ben “Bender” O’Donoghue on a food safari showcasing the best of our produce and scenery.
Feeling the pull of his home town, Gardner then bought the Colosseum in Matawhero – in the heart of the wine trail at the southern gateway to Gisborne - which was founded by local wine legend Denis Irwin of Matawhero Wines.
Gardner has since completely renovated the Colosseum to create a rustic yet welcoming function centre and restaurant/bar where he has successfully showcased his Mediterranean-influenced food with an ever-changing seasonal blackboard menu.
Colin McNab of Bayleys Gisborne is marketing the Colosseum as a business going concern plus 4,744sq m freehold land and buildings with an asking price of $550,000 + GST (if any) plus stock at valuation.
McNab says there is an enviable opportunity for a chef-owner to combine the laid-back East Coast lifestyle with a career.
“Mark Gardner has carved out a great reputation in Gisborne as a genial host and accomplished chef. The Colosseum business is in good heart and with the passing of his father, Bill, Mark has decided to sell up and pursue some new challenges,” he says.
“The Colosseum has become a much-loved “local” among the farming community and also attracts a broad clientele from the wider Gisborne region with regular functions, events and weddings along with daily dining.
“As chef-owner, Mark’s philosophy has always been to create fantastic food with excellent local produce complemented by great local wine, beer and coffee – all served up in a relaxed yet professional atmosphere.”
The purpose-built function centre has a floor area of 270sq m. The building features a large open reception hall space, a commercial kitchen with extensive stainless steel fittings and fixtures, a buffet room, staff room, staff and guest amenities.
The Colosseum can cater for up to 110 guests in the spacious open dining room. The raised stage at one end of the building is ideal for presentations, displays, weddings or elevated seating. The outside covered deck can accommodate 50 people, while an outside marquee can be arranged for larger groups of around 200.
A covered outdoor cooking area has recently been developed which includes a large gas-fired oven, and timber topped benches. This outdoor area allows for a more casual style of dining and is ideally suited to Gisborne’s moderate climate.
There is an extensive list of quality chattels associated with sale including a baby grand piano, outdoor and indoor furniture, two chillers, and operating systems for the bar, restaurant and kitchen.
The business has an active Facebook page to connect with clients, along with a dedicated website and marketing streams. There are forward bookings locked in which a new owner can capitalise on.
The property is zoned Rural Production with existing use rights under the local district plan.
“Given the land size - and following due Council process, it could be possible to extend the existing building or perhaps build a residential dwelling on the site,” says McNab.
“Being just 10km northwest of Gisborne, the property and business offers a superb work-life opportunity for a forward-thinking new owner.