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Cooking up business: Margo's co-owner Bert Haines, left, with The Ballarat Trading Co's Rachel Netown and Captains owners Jenny and Terry Goulding, who'll all be involved in the inaugural 'Queenstown Long Lunch' next month

By PHILIP CHANDLER

Eat your heart out, Queenstown.

To feed business into the resort’s beleaguered CBD, aninaugural ‘Queenstown Long Lunch’ is being held in The Mall on March 19.

Up to 300 diners will be seated down the length of The Mall, lunching on fine fare served by eight close-by restaurants.

It’s being organised by local hospitality operator Republic Hospitality, which owns Mall venues Winnies and The Ballarat Trading Co, and event management company Multi Events, which organises long lunches in Arrowtown, Akaroa and Nelson.

Republic chief financial officer Tracy Pool says the idea’s to stimulate business ‘‘because town is dying’’.

‘‘It works in Arrowtown, and ideas that work, who cares if you’re borrowing them?

‘‘Tried and true ideas are what we’re looking for.’’

Most Mall restaurants readily jumped onboard ‘‘and said, ‘absolutely, whatever we can do to help’’’.

Pool says they’re just going through a few regulatory hoops, after which tickets will go on
sale.

‘‘We’re probably not as expensive as Arrowtown can be, we’re trying to be a little more affordable so everybody can come.’’

As the organisers, she says her company and Multi Events ‘‘are going to take a hit on the
first one, so the idea is to break even — it’s not cheap to run these events, there’s a lot involved’’.

She’d like Queenstown Long Lunch to grow and become a ‘legacy’ event that also attracts
out-of-towners.

‘‘Potentially you could go right around [the CBD].

‘‘How amazing, you could go down to the [Steamer] Wharf and join up with Church Street.’’

But in this first year, ‘‘we’ve got to start one foot at a time’’, she says.

This first event’s also likely to be a fundraiser for mental health.

scoop@scene.co.nz