Ponsonby institution celebrates quarter century

This month, the team at Dizengoff is proudly celebrating 25 years of business.

Celebrated in many of Auckland’s top cafe lists, it’s not surprising Dizengoff has stood the test of time. In 2015, global lifestyle magazine Monocle granted it the highest accolade by naming it one of its top 50 restaurants internationally.

The secret to the success is a winning formula which hasn’t really changed in 25 years. Much of the menu (which has a Jewish influence) remains the same and the coffee is still Allpress. There are rumours that many of the dishes were handed down to founder Andrew Paykel, and his business partner Paul Ryan, by Paykel’s Jewish grandmother. Examples of these dishes include Dizengoff’s famous chicken salad which, to this day, remains a menu favourite along with the mushrooms on toast and the salmon and caper bagel.

Much of Dizengoff’s charm comes from its location nestled in a heritage building with high ceilings both downstairs and upstairs. The décor remains minimalist with an industrial feel, with the addition of a few minor improvements. The bathroom has been recently renovated and the cafe has been given a fresh coat of paint, some new lighting and two black fans have also been added, which should provide some cool relief for Dizengoff’s loyal customers during the hot summer months.

One thing that has changed, however, is the men in charge - Ponsonby locals Phil Clark (ex Nourish Group, Better Bar Group) and Andrew Christie who took over the ownership of Dizengoff in December 2018.

“We are proud to be celebrating such a significant milestone of a true Ponsonby icon and of the team we have in place as we move forward into the next chapter,” says Clark.

“Dizengoff is a fundamental part of the morning routine of many Ponsonby locals, so it’s imperative to us that our regulars feel recognised and acknowledged. It’s also important that new customers have a great experience with us, too.

"With this in mind, we’re excited to announce Anita LataMuliau will be back on the coffee machine from May (to the delight of our regulars). She will also be in charge of the cafe, along with Will McGee, going forward. We will also see the return of Calla Fraser who many people will recognise from the 'old Diz days'. We must also mention that Hau Nguyen, our wonderful, hard-working chef has been in the Dizengoff kitchen cooking everyone’s favourites for 10 years!"

Another welcome addition is artwork by local artist Holly Schroder which we will be showcasing in the cafe next month.

Clark adds: “It’s important for us to stay true to the founders and previous owners’ vision of Dizengoff and to preserve what they created. A cool cafe with great coffee, simple, non- fussy dishes and a great atmosphere. We are going back so that we can move forward with our amazing loyal customers and the new customers we look forward to welcoming along the way.”

DIZENGOFF, 256 Ponsonby Road, T: 09 360 0108,  www.facebook.com/dizengoff.ponsonby