Espressoholic is located where there have always been eating houses. Records show that in 1905 there were two shops operating on the site, a confectioners and an oyster saloon.
In the early 1900’s, before refrigerators where invented, oysters were kept in sacks in the harbour near Thorndon. Every day the sacks would be barrowed up from the water and the still live oysters would be shucked to order for the customers.
In 1915 a Greek immigrant, Antonios Karantze, bought the oyster salon and renamed it The Karantze Brothers Restaurant. This family business survived for a number of generations changing its food focus from oyster bar to cafeteria and finally closed in the 1970’s.
Stories can be found in old newspapers of raucous behavior by the restaurants patrons and even some illegal activities of the business owners.
In 1920 Ippocrates Karantze was charged with buying and selling trout, which has always been illegal, and calling it a flounder. There are also numerous stories of drunk and disorderly customers fighting and smashing up the restaurant and not paying for their meals.
In 1901 it was common for the Greek owners of oyster saloons to bring their own countrymen in to work as non unionised labour. These workers were prepared to work 12 to 16 hours a day with little or no overtime and, because the saloons where often quite rough places open from 9am in the morning till as late as 4am, men were employed rather than woman. However, the wives and daughters of these Greek businessmen could to be found working the tills and managing staff.
image Wellington Hellenic Mile by Zisis Blades
Dorothy’s Cake Shop;
In the late 1800’s 136 Cuba St was already a confectioners shop and in 1927 it became a bakery.
In 1957 it became Dorothy’s Cake Shop, run by Henk and Mineke Rood and then their son Robert who renamed the business Dorothy’s Patisserie where, along with baked products, customers could buy handmade chocolates made with fine quality French chocolate.
In the 1990’s they extended the business and set up a number of French style booth tables and it became a favourite cafe for local workers to eat lunch. Wonderful lightly, baked French quiches were reasonably priced and a joy to eat.
The model figurine of a chef was a favourite with regular customers until the shop was remodelled into a cafe. The chef’s head would nod day in and day out. At Christmas the family would dress the chef as Father Christmas and fill the window and shelves with yummy festive season baking.
This popular family run cake shop closed in 2009 when the owners found the high rent made the business unviable.
Photo by Barry Thomas taken in 1991 for the 1992 Cuba St Calendar