Boardwalk empire

Under the Boardwalk: Preparing to open Boardwalk are, from left, general manager Peter Robertson, operations manager Ellen Murphy, group head chef Chris Lees and owner Pete Jefford

A Queenstown hospo operator is reviving the name of an iconic former restaurant for his next venture.

Seafood restaurant Boardwalk ran for 16 years till its lease was taken over by its neighbour, Wharf Casino, nine years ago. Boardwalk famously hosted then-United States President Bill Clinton for dinner in 1999.

Pete Jefford, who opened Brazz, his first local hospo venue, in 2002, is opening another Boardwalk in the same upstairs Steamer Wharf premises as its predecessor, late this month.

He has already been operating Pier restaurant, immediately below, for two years.

By adopting the Boardwalk name, he says he’s tipping his cap to its original operators, Tony Robertson and Adele and Grant Jackson, while also acknowledging the name’s suitability for its stunning waterfront location.

While fresh New Zealand seafood will be a staple, Jefford says he’ll also offer premium steaks and other main dishes, while a specialty will be an oysters and caviar menu.

There’ll be an extensive NZ and international wine list, bubbles by the glass and bottle, and cocktails.

Boardwalk will also have a separate bar area with its own menu and Tuatara, Heineken and Tiger beers on tap.

Jefford’s promising a classy atmosphere, and says the seated area’s conveniently broken up into different spaces.

“Queenstown has a lot of food and drink offerings but I think there’s always room for good operations.”

Jefford, who also opened an underground restaurant/bar, The London, in 2015, next plans to open a standalone, family-friendly pub at Frankton’s Five Mile around next June.

Wharf Casino remains open but has vacated the Boardwalk space.