By CASS MARRETT
The Frank’s hospo empire’s expanded again, this time opening its first stand-alone venue.
11th Avenue by Frank’s, in the Kawarau Park precinct behind Queenstown Country Club retirement village and near the new Southern Cross Central Lakes Trust Hospital, boasts a restaurant, wine bar, lounge and pizza deck.
Marketing and PR manager Kristel Maroszek says since opening last week it’s already garnering local support.
The new venue — the sixth for Frank’s — has three distinct spaces, decorated by Tori Lethbridge, who owns the empire with her husband, Aaron, and business partner Rob Neil, of Safari Group.
Maroszek says each space has its own ‘‘personality’’.
The cafe’s ‘‘soft’’ and ‘‘feminine’’, the outdoor area — furnished with a fireplace, bean bags and an outdoor ‘‘pizza hut’’— is dog- and child-friendly, while the bar’s ‘‘more of a respite and a sanctuary’’.
The menu, overall, boasts more of what the company does well, with some personal touches, including the Uncle Joe pizza, named after a family member, and cottage cheese in some items made from Aaron’s mother’s recipe.
The venue, too, is personal.
Speight’s will always be on tap, because Aaron loves it, and Tori’s managed to incorporate her grandmother’s vintage Singer sewing machine into the decor.
‘‘[It’s] just a really great feel for every type of person that’s coming here, everyone that’s just wanting something either quick or wanting to sit for a long time and do all their work, tradies, parents, everyone.’’
Maroszek says there are lots of plans in the works for 11th Avenue by Frank’s, including introducing private functions at the bar and its mezzanine, and partnering with neighbour
ing businesses in Kawarau Park — which includes a hairdresser and the new hospital — for catering.
Given the mammoth expansions since Frank’s launched in 2018, Maroszek says, for now, the group’s going to ‘‘just consolidate’’ existing venues for a while.
‘‘Obviously having something in the CBD, something out here [by Shotover Country] and things in Frankton, [we’re] pretty set.’’