How does a suburb and its people bid adieu to not only a local icon, but an award-winning Auckland-wide institution?

If you head to the Antoine’s website, you’ll see this statement from Tony Astle himself:

“We want to thank you all for the loyal support over the past 47 years, but the time has come for us to say good bye.

You will all sincerely be missed, and the memories will live on from all the great times we had which we thank you for.

Although this is me signing off for now, there might be something new in the pipeline a bit later so keep your eyes peeled.

Once again, thank you to all.”

That’s right, since 1972, Auckland’s finest award-winning, old-fashioned silver service Antoine’s, is closing its doors and along with-it Tony’s high standards, staunch dedication, and commitment to fine-dining.

It’s true what they say when one door closes another one opens, but before all that, we thought it fitting to celebrate the man himself and thank him for not only his impeccable service inside Antoine’s and the memories he’s provided so many with (some scandalous, some delicious, some entirely unbelievable!) but also for providing Parnell with such a special ‘jewel in the hospitality crown’ that was not only timeless but provided those who entered Antoine’s the chance to escape real life for an experience, fine-dining, impeccable service, and privacy. Dining at Antoine’s was like stepping behind a velvet-rope of sorts. Yes, you went to dine, but you got so much more. What went on at Antoine’s stayed at Antoine’s; which, for such a traditional eating experience, was an incredibly sexy offer for some guests.

It’s impossible not to celebrate a long-standing restaurant that is so determined and so inspirationally skilled, at celebrating the past. Tony Astle has been named ‘the grandfather of Auckland dining’ for good reason and has run Antoine’s in the same premises from day one, to doors closing, with pretty much the same décor and even a few of the same menu items, for the whole 47 years of service.

During that time, Tony also found time to mentor many of the city’s finest chefs, including Simon Wright (The French Café), Michael Meredith (Merediths), and TV celeb Simon Gault.  This contribution along with all his other accolades were recognised in the December 2012 New Years Honours List, where Tony received the Officer of New Zealand Merit for his services as a Chef.

Reflecting on his career, Tony Astle has said, “I was very lucky because I found a job that I loved really, more than anything else and one that just kept on inspiring and inspiring.”

May the next part of your journey be just as inspired Tony. Parnell has a whole lot to thank both you and Beth for. You will be greatly missed.

 

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