Thursday, February 22, 2024
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Cafe Love at Wee Tart

Serendipity played a hand in successful restaurateur James Stapler’s latest foodie venture when  The Precinct Wānaka café Wee Tart came across his radar.

“ We weren’t intending to open any other eateries when the opportunity to take over the business arose. My partner Sarah and I were deep in the planning of our new restaurant Paloma that was opening across the courtyard when the Wee Tart café owners decided to move on.”

“Taking over the café meant we could have total access to the courtyard and amazing upstairs bar and we quickly realised if someone else bought it the vibe down that end of The Precinct laneway would change.”

The move means lots of options for James and Sarah.

“Wee Tart works beautifully as a daytime café with lovely outdoor garden seating and at night we can turn these spaces into cool evening social areas and additional bar options for the Paloma crowd.”

Running a daytime café has been a novel experience for James and his team of hospitality professionals.

“I’ve never been involved with a café so it’s a completely different challenge which is fun,” he says. “ We really love it and I think the original owners did an amazing job establishing it. We are just putting our own stamp on the work they have already done.”

Wee Tart is open daily from 9.00am until 4.00pm serving Common Ground coffee and a tasteful range of cabinet food and short order dishes.

“We’ve redone the whole cabinet selection introducing our artisan style sandwiches that are hugely popular and some really interesting fresh baked goodies along with installing a soft serve machine.”

“There is a lot of yum short order stuff like grilled sandwiches, freshly made poke bowl, delicious fried chicken or the meatball sub sandwich. Kids love the milkshakes and the older crowd enjoy the coffee and cakes so it has broad appeal.”

James says having additional kitchen space at Paloma has taken the café’s baking to a new level.

“It’s off the charts with a patisserie chef now creating all our cakes, slices and sweet treats that people love so much here. It’s been a total game changer and we’re continuing to evolve the café menu keeping it dynamic and interesting.”