There’s been a change of guard at Queenstown’s best-known neighbourhood restaurant.
After almost 16 years running Fernhill’s VKnow Restaurant & Wine Bar, Lizzie and Danny Carson have sold to another ‘L and D’ couple, Lenka and Dave Sommer, who’ve been employees for the past four years.
A former liquor rep, Danny says their decision to buy the-then Giuseppes came down to a toss of a coin when they were weighing up their future over a bottle of Bollinger.
“It was ‘your dream, my dream’.
“Lizzie went, ‘I want to own and operate my own restaurant’, and she won the toss.”
The following week, Danny discovered Giuseppes was for sale, and the rest is history
“It’s just been a good fun place to eat, drink and be merry.
“We’re not no-frills, but not many frills.”
He’s been front-of-house while Lizzie’s cheffed – Dave and Lenka are taking the opposite roles.
Danny says he’s given the new owners “the Dan Carter pass – we basically sold it to them for the same price we bought it”.
“They’re going to take it the next level, I think.”
Dave says “we’re going to keep the same sort of vibe, the same feel to the restaurant, and eventually we’ll put our own mark on it”.
However there’ll be no drastic changes – “we’re not turning it into a noodle house”.
Lizzie and Danny, meanwhile, left last Saturday for Kaikoura where – a bit like buying VKnow – they’ve bought a property, just out of town, on a whim.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do – we’ll do something,” Danny says.