Year of two halves at Noble

Tony Potts
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Speight’s Alehouse owner Tony Potts took on the challenge last December of running a second restaurant, the Ashburton MSA’s embattled Noble 600.
A year on it seems to have been a gamble that has paid off with Tony describing the place as humming and needing more chefs to keep up with demand.
‘‘We started the year with too many staff and not enough customers and finished the year with too many customers and not enough staff,’’ Tony said.
‘‘It’s a good way to be, it’s good to have the place humming, it’s good for the club in general.’’
There was a rocky start with the covid red light setting kicking in soon after the restaurant opened, making Tony question his judgement in taking on the second restaurant.
‘‘We didn’t get a good start with the covid red traffic light setting, didn’t make life very pretty there for a while, it lasted a couple of months and was a nightmare, so at that time it was probably the worse business decision I had made.’’
But once the traffic light setting ended they were away.
‘‘On the whole we’re doing well now, it is a local restaurant as opposed to Speight’s a nationwide restaurant.’’
One of Tony’s goals was to have a clear separation of his two restaurants, and he believes he has achieved that.
‘‘It’s definitely a different experience, it’s a similar style of food but it’s different, if you want chicken schnitzel you go to Speight’s, if you want beef schnitzel you come here.
‘‘We have lower end meals to suit the club itself like pork chops. We always have a roast everyday, it’s the sort of food club members like to see, as we grew we put some higher end stuff like salmon and ribs to appease the public.’’
The feedback from club members has been positive, ‘‘I think it is more their style now, they have got a beautiful restaurant here,’’ he said.
Tony would like to hire a few more chefs to work in both restaurants; he currently has five and says another three would make it a bit more comfortable for him.
‘‘At the moment we have enough, but it’s not enough if someone goes on holiday or is sick. We’re not desperately short, we’re uncomfortably short, to be comfortable I’d like three more.’’
For the New Year Tony plans to introduce an updated Noble 600 menu.
‘‘We’ve got some really exciting ideas coming up we think.’’
Tony wants to thank club members and the public for utilising the place during the year. ‘‘We do appreciate people coming along and trying out the place.’’