Vogel Street Kitchen
It has been great to see the revitalisation of the Vogel Street precinct over the last year or so. The introduction of street art, the redevelopment of Vogel Street and the surrounding area, as well as historic buildings being restored and adopted by Dunedin businesses. This trend is great for the city and Vogel Street kitchen has capitalised on the revitalised area.
We caught up with Riah Mclean, who has just opened Vogel St Kitchen located, of course at 76 Vogel Street. Riah always wanted to open a cafe / bar. But, the timing was not right whilst living in Christchurch with the earthquakes. However, making the decision to relocate to Dunedin to be closer to family and friends, she spotted the building that was perfect for what she wanted to create. On signing the lease it was also brought to her attention that she had a family connection to the building. In the 1930's/40's her great grandfather use to be a printer in the building that has had a long history in the print industry. Riah's grandmother still to this day whilst visiting could point out where everything use to operate from within the building.
Riah had anticipated the change that this revitalised area of Dunedin would bring. She stated that the Vogel Street precinct 'feels like the real Dunedin. It has character and the spirit, something you don't feel when you visit George Street.'
Right in the heart of the rejuvenated Vogel Street area, the effort and craftsmanship put into this new cafe has to be seen to appreciate it. The 100 year + old building has been rescued and restored into something Dunedin can be proud of! The sleek minimalistic dark exterior hides the beauty within. On entering the building you are greeted with a mix of modern and historic features complimented by exquisite metal work. Both Riah and the building owner Lawrie Forbes can be proud of what they have accomplished through the collaborative effort. True to Lawrie's reputation the metal work in the building could be better described as works of art.
Everything inside the building has been designed and could be described as bespoke. The tables are incredible and have been created by the Otago Polytechnic Engineering department. The raw steel with recycled mahogany is incredible. Even the windows have been given the modern upgrades, but historic styling. John Peddie has done an amazing job in handcrafting all the new double glazed windows from recycled timber, faithfully to how they were originally. A process that Riah said has reaffirmed why she loves Dunedin and the people who are here.
The building has been completely fitted out and is a complete change from seeing the inside of the building at the start of this year. It is outstanding to see old buildings like this receive new life that will be used for another 100 years to come.
A 20 year dream in the making, Riah wanted to create a space that people kind of adopt and love, because it feels good. Something that is very important to her, alongside providing great food and service. But, it is more so about creating a experience that people enjoy. A challenge that Riah believes could not be achieved in a new building, historic places like this have history and an atmosphere that you cant find in a new place.
The food and atmosphere Riah has created with Vogel St Kitchen comes back to things being real and true. The new cafe is big on using regional and local quality produce, as well as dealing with nice people. Something she believes comes out on the plate. People want to know that they are spending their money on something that is nourishing and quality.
This is very evident in their casual rustic food they serve. From the wood fired pizzas and sandwiches with Hearth Artisan bread. All the greens are farmed in Purakanui and their eggs and pork are free farmed, the eggs from Balclutha and the Pork from Cressy Farm in South Canterbury. Basically, wherever possible they try to serve the best.
At Vogel St Kitchen some could perceive it to be a restaurant, but Riah has steered clear of this wanting to clearly identify it as a cafe. The reasoning behind this is that she wanted the place to be welcoming and casual. To create a feel good atmosphere that anyone could walk in at any time of the day. Bookings are available, but only for groups containing 8 or more people. Open to anyone and even available for that special event. The Mezzanine is licensed for 48 people and can be closed off via the amazing balustrades that work as vertical louvers for a little bit of privacy.
Vogel Street Kitchen offer a dinner service two nights a week with an all day breakfast. The fixed cafe menu is heavily geared towards breakfast and brunches with some lunch options. They also have a cabinet that changes everyday for those who are in a hurry. However, Riah said she just wants to provide what people want. If someone wants eggs benedict at 9pm then thats what the customer will get!
The cafe is open from 7:30am till 4pm Monday to Thursday with late nights on Friday and Saturday till 11pm with Emersons on tap. On sunday their staff get a bit of a sleep in opening at 8am.
A great new business to Dunedin that everyone should go and visit. Not only do they do great food and provide a welcoming atmosphere it is a business providing 23 new jobs to the city. Not too mention the willingness to support the city by donating $500 each month to a new charity of choice, as well as being a firm supporter of Dunedin Street Art. An obvious choice seeing the amazing piece Phlegm has done on the side of their building.
I highly recommend dropping by even if it is just to have a look inside!
Post submitted by Joshua Jeffery