Black Barn restaurant to close for several months after ‘devastating’ fire, cause still yet to be determined

Black Barn Bistro in Havelock North was badly damaged in a fire overnight on Tuesday, February 8.

Henare Waapu/Supplied

Black Barn Bistro in Havelock North was badly damaged in a fire overnight on Tuesday, February 8.

Black Barn Bistro in Havelock North will likely be closed for several months after it was “extensively” damaged in a fire the same night as their team won a coveted hat in this year’s Cuisine Good Food Awards.

About seven firetrucks rushed to the restaurant which sits amongst the Black Barn vineyard off Te Mata Rd about 9.15pm on Tuesday. The fire was contained by about 10.40pm, though crews remained on site for monitoring.

The restaurant, which is closed on Tuesdays, was unoccupied at the time and there were no reported injuries, Hawke’s Bay assistant commander Bruce Botherway told Stuff.

The fire was not being treated as supicious. An invvestigation was carried out on Wednesday, but the cause was yet to be determined, said Fire and Emergency Hawke’s Bay district manager Ken Cooper​.

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Black Barn Bistro in Havelock North the morning after the fire.

Gianina Schwanecke/Stuff

Black Barn Bistro in Havelock North the morning after the fire.

From the roadside on Wednesday morning, the black building which housed the restaurant appeared undamaged, however, the restaurant had been badly smoke damaged. “It was quite an intensive fire on arrival.”

Cooper said they were working with the owners who were “pretty distraught” at the loss of the “landmark Hastings facility”.

A post on the vineyard’s social media said they had been overwhelmed by messages of support from the community and further afield.

“The Bistro was honored to be awarded a Hat in the Cuisine Good Food Awards last night and the team are still in high spirits after so much hard work to make this happen.”

The post stated they would be closed for several months to rebuild. The Black Barn Market, retreats and events were all business as usual. “We will be hatching a plan in the coming days for a reopening of the cellar door, kitchen store and retreat offices in a temporary location and will update soon.”

It was believed the fire started in office storage areas of the building and quickly spread to the Bistro kitchen, the post stated. “Our iconic courtyard, cellar door and kitchen store are all reasonably intact. However, there is significant smoke and water damage everywhere and we will not be open to the public from today.”

Black Barn is also a popular event and wedding destination.  (File photo)

Supplied

Black Barn is also a popular event and wedding destination. (File photo)

Stuff has approached bistro owner Henry Gordon, and Andy Coltart, one of the owners of Black Barn Vineyards where the restaurant is located, for comment.

Black Barn is a popular event and wedding destination, with several prominent artists set to perform at the venue including Gin Wigmore and Lorde (though her show was postponed until next year due to Covid-19).

Hawke’s Bay Tourism chief executive Hamish Saxton said that made it an especially “devastating blow”.

“Black Barn Vineyard and Bistro has long been a staple of Hawke’s Bay Food and Wine Country,” he said. “But we know that with their considerable talent and support, Black Barn will once again epitomise everything visitors love about the region.”

Chief executive of the Restaurant Association Marisa Bidois said it was a “much loved part of the Hawke’s Bay hospitality community” and agreed the fire would be devastating news.

“This incident comes on the back of what is already an incredibly tough time for hospitality businesses, so we understand the anxiety this must be causing them. We’ve reached out to offer our support as they work through their reopening plans.”

to the Restaurant Association, last year the Black Barn Bistro was named a finalist in Dine’s Outstanding Winery restaurants and a finalist in the 2019 One Music Outstanding Restaurant awards.

It was also named a finalist in both the 2017 San Pellegrino Outstanding Cellar Door and Crombie Lockwood Outstanding Winery Restaurant and a finalist in the 2016 Westpac Outstanding Winery Experience.

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