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Wellington’s iconic Caffe Astoria to celebrate 20th birthday

Wellington’s iconic Caffe Astoria to celebrate 20th birthday

8 September 2015

Wellington’s iconic Caffe Astoria will celebrate its 20th birthday on 23 January 2016, kicking off a week of celebrations at the café.

From Saturday 23 January to Friday 29 January, celebrations include offering an ‘Astoria Classics’ menu featuring some favourite recipes from the last 20 years; “free coffee hour” at random times throughout the week , an option for customers to donate $1 with their orders to Kaibosh Food Rescue, a charity that Astoria donates left over food to on a daily basis; and spot prizes and giveaways.

Started in 1996 by Sue Dempsey and Janice Kirkwood, Astoria has been full steam ahead since opening its 150 seat café situated on the edge of Midland Park in Lambton Quay. During this time they have served almost nine million cups of coffee and gone through 2.75 million eggs.

Owners Kirkwood and Dempsey attribute their ongoing success to a philosophy of offering consistent quality of food and service and working with talented staff. “We’ve always said to our staff that without customers none us have jobs, so take good care of them,” says co-owner Sue Dempsey.

Kelda Hains was their very first baker, responsible for many of the delicious cakes Astoria still serves to this day. Hains went on to become chef and partner of Nikau where she continues to spoil customers with her wonderful food. Shepherd Elliot, who now owns Ti Kouka and Leed St Bakery, started with Astoria as a sandwich hand before moving into a chef role. “We were also lucky enough to have Al Brown designing our menus for a brief period in the very early days before he opened Logan Brown,’’ says co-owner Janice Kirkwood.

“There are many Astoria customers who have been with us since opening,” says co-owner Sue Dempsey. “We have seen careers that have changed, many a lawyer become a judge, even a QC. And we’ve watched kids grow up at the café who now are regulars independent of their parents.”

Astoria owner Janice Kirkwood estimates that over 20 years they have gone through:

Milk: 816,000 litres

Bacon: 61,200 kg or 1,407,600 slices

Coffee: 178,500kg or 8,925,000 cups of coffee

Eggs: 2,754,000


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