When Benjamin Naylor built Victoria Store in Clyde in 1869 little did he realise the important legacy his traditional schist buildings would leave for future visitors to the region.
Miners flocked to the Otago goldfields in the 1860s and Naylor’s store was a key outlet for their provisions. Today it houses the renowned Olivers Restaurant and is recognised as one of the most significant heritage buildings in Otago.
Naylor also built a homestead for his family of seven children along with stables, barns and a coach house and the original buildings have been authentically restored by current owners Andrea and David Ritchie to provide quality boutique guest accommodation.
The Ritchies arrived in Clyde almost 12 years ago from Auckland and began the painstaking restoration of the historic complex, undertaken with the support of Heritage New Zealand.
Olivers Restaurant became prominent in the 1970s through the influence of owner and tourism identity Fleur Sullivan and the Ritchies’ vision was to again boost its profile and make it a sought-after dining destination.
“We had a view as to what we could do with the restaurant and accommodation and we completed the restoration in 2015,” says David. “ But things did evolve a little differently from our original concept and we now have our award-winning Olivers Restaurant, The Merchant of Clyde café-deli, a bar, bakery and the Victoria Store Brewery as well as a range of boutique accommodation.”
Clyde has developed into a popular tourism town motivated by pro-active retail and hospitality businesses and Olivers plays an integral role in the historic precinct which has emerged.
“The precinct has a good vibe, it is interesting and diverse and has really good energy and we love being part of it,” says Andrea. “While prior to Covid-19 the majority of guests staying at Olivers were international, the domestic market has come in strongly since. We have had incredible support from local people and out of town Kiwis who are discovering smaller out of the way places such as Clyde.”
Cyclists riding both the Otago Central Rail Trail and the new Lake Dunstan Trail, along with tourists who are making Clyde their base for exploring the wineries and other attractions in the region, are increasingly making Olivers their base.
“We thoroughly enjoy the interaction we have with the many different people coming through Clyde and staying with us,” says Andrea. “We get very strong feedback about our renovated complex – these are living, breathing buildings which have responded so well to our restoration and are so much more appealing than a static museum type space.”
Introducing The Lord Clyde
A 120-year-old building with a history of hospitality has been restored offering luxury accommodation under the banner of The Lord Clyde.
Olivers owners Andrea and David Ritchie recently partnered with Andrea’s sister Victoria Hansen to transform the former Dunstan Hotel into a nine en-suited room B &B in central Clyde.
The two-storey schist building combines original and contemporary features and includes a guest lounge, dining room and private garden for guests’ use.
The Lord Clyde opened 18 months ago and is a popular stopover with cyclists and tourists.
“Guests enjoy a special Lord Clyde breakfast and the perfect evening meal option is across the road at Olivers Restaurant,” says Victoria who manages the venture. “Head chef James Waite creates superb dishes using distinctive local and regional produce providing an exceptional menu in wonderful historic surroundings.”