Tucked away down the Fitzroy Arcade in the heart of Fitzroy Village, is a secret spot that only locals know about.
Opening out onto a sunny courtyard The Hub and Vin Bar are just two of the businesses that connect to this sheltered sanctuary.
With new owners and a host of new businesses opening up in the area as well, Live shines a light on your new ‘go-to’ destination this summer …
Husband and wife team, Andy and Megan Watts, are locals through and through.
Megan grew up in Fitzroy while Andy, a visiting Scottish tourist who never went home, are raising their family here and have now cemented their commitment to Taranaki by buying the popular Hub Cafe and Vin Bar.
As an independent business there are no franchise fees to pay … all the money generated through the cafe remains in Taranaki.
“We’re a local business with local suppliers,” says Megan.
Two of their three boys go to Fitzroy School and Andy works for a local timber company.
With coffee and meals available by day, and select wines and snacks on offer at night, these venues make the most of the versatility of the space.
The two hospitality venues are very much Megan’s ‘baby’, though both she and Andy have backgrounds in hospitality, and the couple employ around 15 staff.
“I’ve always wanted my own little wine bar,” confesses Megan (what busy mum doesn’t?) and she even had concept plans for what she would ultimately like to do.
“She was manifesting it,” laughs Andy.
“Then it just so happens I was finishing up my job and this came up for sale,” Megan recalls. “It worked out really well — this is my happy place.”
Andy does all the admin in his ‘spare’ time, while Megan looks after the day-to-day running of the business.
The couple are passionate about working in the business, rather than taking a hands-off management-only approach. Being on-the-spot means they can help out where needed and keep an eye on the all-important ‘little things’ that can make a huge difference to a customer’s experience.
“I’m a big believer in making customers feel welcome,” says Megan. “Even just sitting and chatting, having a laugh — and our staff all do that as well.”
The Hub’s food offerings include tasty cabinet food as well as a breakfast and lunch menu.
Avocado on Toast and Eggs Benny are the most popular orders from the breakfast menu, which runs the gamut from a classic Mince on Toast to the filling Big Breakfast.
The lunch menu features a NZ Beef Burger, Open Chicken Sandwich, BLT, Tuscan Chicken Salad and a Special of the Week, along with a range of sandwiches and salads from the cabinet.
There’s also some popular kids’ options.
They cater to all dietary requirements. “If it’s not on the menu we’ll make it,” assures Megan.
Licensed for beer and wine, with Escape Coffee plus a range of juices and smoothies (choose from almond milk or coconut water).
HOURS: Tue – Sat, 7:30am – 4pm
“Our whole team is incredible – they make the place what it is. From our friendly front of house team looking after our customers, great chefs making our delicious food through to our baker who makes the kind of things your mum used to make,” says Megan.
With a carefully curated selection of New Zealand wines, Vin Bar has a brand-new wine list for the summer. Accompanied by a terrific range of beers, spirits and cocktails, it’s a popular place to meet up for evening drinks.
The Hub’s kitchen is used to cater for the menu at Vin Bar.
“We offer tapas-like fare such as arancini, chicken bites, calamari, pork belly skewers, platters and sliders,” says Andy. “We’ve had some awesome feedback on the food.”
HOURS: Thu, Fri & Sat, 4pm until close
(Check Vin Bar’s Facebook page for their Sunday Sessions opening this summer)
With five separate areas that can be utiilised separately or together, The Hub and Vin Bar are popular options for private functions like birthdays, anniversaries or engagement parties.
The Hub has three distinct areas — downstairs, upstairs and the upstairs balcony.
People can hire the whole place, or just upstairs (with its own bar), or just downstairs, depending on numbers.
The Vin Bar is right next door, and both venues open out onto the covered arcade, which can also be utilised; plus the courtyard —which is partially covered and has umbrellas to shelter from sun or rain.
This gives hirers multiple options for their function with the ability to host over 100 people right down to a small group.