After 24 years, the famed O’Connell Street Bistro in Auckland’s O’Connell Street is closing its doors for good on Friday April 16, 2021. Owners and founders Chris Upton and Amanda Mason point to the insecurity of COVID-19 and being unable …

Thursday, 18 March 2021, 7:37 amPress Release: O’Connell Street Bistro
After 24 years, the famed OConnell Street Bistro in
Aucklands OConnell Street is closing its doors for
good on Friday April 16, 2021.
Owners and founders
Chris Upton and Amanda Mason point to the insecurity of
COVID-19 and being unable to successfully renegotiate their
lease as the reasons behind the difficult decision to close
their doors after more than two decades in
The couple say that like many in the
hospitality industry, they have had to continue paying fixed
costs that occur throughout successive COVID
With the continuing lock downs and the
challenges of operating at Level 2 in the first two months
of 2021, and with no clear respite ahead, it is
unsustainable to continue, said Chris Upton.
renowned Bistro has been awarded with many accolades over
the years including being cited as one of the Top 42 places
in the World to visit, (Vanity Fair April 2007) and the
Award of Excellence from the prestigious New York Wine
Spectator magazine from 2001-2016.
With a famed wine
list and dishes that have stood the test of time including
the celebrated rabbit pappardelle (on the menu since 2000),
the couple say they are now focussed on supporting their
team and delivering an exceptional experience to guests for
the next four weeks of service.
The restaurant has
weathered many storms including the power crisis in
February – March 1998 when, just four months after opening
its doors the Bistro was forced to shut down. Then came the
restaurant fire on 26 January 2016, which resulted in an
eight-month closure for refurbishment. Despite this
sophomore setback, the couple kept their team fully
employed, spending time focussed on charity work and
restaurant pop ups.
Chris Upton says that while this
is the end of OConnell Street Bistro, they are not
retiring and may look at another venture in future
While the Bistro has been our lifes work
for close to a quarter of a century, we have never thought
of it as simply ours. It belongs to every one of our
fabulous patrons who have supported us and enjoyed our
We have enjoyed one hell of a
wonderful ride and our heartfelt thanks go out to all of our
guests who have made the Bistro part of their
For us, it has always been about offering
outstanding cuisine, brilliant service, a cosy relaxed
ambience and of course, all that memorable wine.
are honoured to be consistently placed among the top
restaurants in New Zealand. We have been privileged to work
alongside teams of very talented individuals. We have had
fantastic chefs, managers, sommeliers, waiters, and kitchen
hands who have contributed hugely to the success of the
We feel great sadness knowing we are at the
end of an era, but we also feel joy and satisfaction knowing
that together we all created an amazing and special
place, he says.
OConnell Street Bistro will
close its doors after a final dinner service on Friday 16
April. Until then OConnell Street Bistro is open for
lunch on Thursday & Friday from 11.30am & dinner
Tuesday to Saturday from 5:00pm.
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