The sixth interview in a series of personal insights about why Wynyard Central is proving such a popular place to live. This week we spoke to owner of award-winning restaurants The Grove and Baduzzi, Michael Dearth, who has joined in the regeneration of Wynyard Quarter as a cornerstone commercial resident.
What was it about Wynyard Quarter that drew you to set up your next restaurant business here?
Baduzzi is an expression of family and the food I grew up with. The restaurant needed a place with space, vibrancy and a sense of gathering. Wynyard Quarter felt right.
From a business perspective there are lots of layers that activate the area. People are drawn to the water, to the businesses, and the restaurants. There are well-designed spaces for families and for sports, and a new theatre and 5-star hotel are on the way.
What is it that attracts the locals and visitors you serve to come to the area?
I first experienced the area as a parent of two young kids – it was great to find such a well-designed playground and community space. I think it’s how so many elements come together – food, entertainment, tourism, day to day life, being on the doorstep of the Viaduct and City - that gives this area it’s edge. It’s places like Wynyard Quarter that make good cities great.
Wynyard Quarter has changed profoundly since it was opened to the public in 2006, what do you see for its continued future transformation?
I’m beginning to see new communal spaces and gardens popping up and I’d love to see more. They’re a great way to energise a neighbourhood and cities like San Francisco have started using them in really clever ways – to provide food for charity or as somewhere to volunteer to pay off your parking fines.
What is a personal favourite thing to do or place to visit around Wynyard Quarter?
One evening, when visiting to scope out the area for Baduzzi, I came around the corner to see a guy nailing a 3-pointer on the basketball court. As a Connecticut expat this was a little slice of home and it brought me a lot of joy to see people out enjoying themselves in such an awesome community space. There is always something happening down here and I enjoy discovering new and unique things the area has to offer.