With much-loved Alleluya recently closing its doors, one of the most picturesque cafe locations in Auckland was up for grabs. Emma Lyell, who owns new coffee cart Bestie with her partner Tane Williams, tells us how they jumped at the chance to fill the space. While it could be said that the beautiful views through St Kevin's giant windows are currently overshadowed by the chaos of the renovations taking place in the arcade, the gorgeous coffee cart (and soon-to-be cafe) is a welcome reminder that good things are just around the corner.
Who’s behind Bestie?
I'm Emma, I've been in hospo for ten years now, working all around the show in NZ and overseas. I started my hospo career at Maranui cafe in Wellington where I absolutely fell in love with the job and continued on at Coco's Cantina in Auckland. I then travelled to London with my partner Tane before heading back to Napier, and now finally back to Auckland. Tane is an freelance illustrator who had a studio on K'Road back when I worked at Coco's. He does heaps of different work: stuff for movies, magazines and a bit of graphic design and his own art work too. We live just down the road with our cat, Wizard.
Can you tell me a bit about how Bestie came to be?
Sure! It's been my dream for a long time to have my own cafe, and we had been searching for a while for the right spot whilst living in Napier. We kept running into issues with all the spots we liked down there. We heard that the Alleluya space was finishing up and that had been one of my dream locations since day one, so we quickly put together a pitch and crossed our fingers... Now here we are!
How long has the café been in the works for?
The dream for the cafe has been a long time coming! But putting together for this specific site has been a few months, but it's all come together really fast, with the move from Napier and then knuckling down and doing up plans and menus – very exciting!
How did you come up with the name?
That was definitely very challenging. Many many hours of brainstorming and we came up with 'Personal Best', which then got shortened to, and eventually changed to 'Bestie'. Short'n'sweet!
And who came up with your branding/design?
Tane did all our design and palette. It was quite cool going through the process of nailing down the vibe that you want to have for the look of the place, and finally being able to put the ideas onto paper. We wanted it to be super simple and playful.
I see you’re currently working on expanding your team, can you give much away about your plans for the year?
Yeah we are just a wee coffee cart at the moment, serving up eighthirty coffee and some snacks, but will be beginning renovations in the space over next couple of weeks and fitting out the cafe and the seating area! So we are hoping to have that all done by late February, and then relaunch with a full menu for breakfast and lunch, seven days.
Why have you chosen to work with eighthirty coffee?
We just love eighthirty so much, I think their coffee just tastes amazing – it's really rich and packs a punch. Love the fact that they are K'Road locals too, and the team has been beyond supportive to us opening up here! They really look after the people they work with, and that's what we hope to achieve in our business too.
How do you see your cafe fitting into the changes happening in the arcade?
I think it's going to be positive. I think the reaction to the changes has been really great, especially here within the arcade. The places is not so much 'changing' as being restored so it's great to be a part of that fresh and exciting movement, so it feels like a lot of the fear that the arcade was going to be this crazy different place has gone. And we are so stoked that a lot of the same businesses have stuck around because they make the arcade the special space that it is, it's been fun getting to know everyone.
Where are some of your other favourite spots to grab a bite (near or far)?
Our mates down at Coco's on K'Road for the most fun nights, L'eouf for best weekend brunch, Ceremony Company boys for expert coffee, and Sandringham for cheap eats.
When we are in Welly we always hit up Maranui, and Queen Sally's Diamond Deli. And our all time favourite spot overseas is Towpath cafe in London – they're our biggest inspiration for food style and general vibe!
Finish this sentence – People should head along to Bestie if they’re looking for…
Good vibes and great views!