It’s a legacy he’s not sure he can beat, but Morri Street Cafés new owner is certainly determined to give it a crack.
Gary Warner has purchased the iconic Nelson eatery from its founder Kay Field, who has been running it for an impressive 21 years.
She initially opened it with family in 1997 but decided to put it up for sale last November.
Gary and his partner Jessica happened to see a story about it in the Nelson Weekly that month.
“I usually don’t go for more than a five-year plan, but it’s something I can see us doing for a long time,” he says.
Gary, who hails from Ireland, has been living in Sydney for the past 20 years. Jessica grew up in Nelson, so the couple and their two young children are no strangers to the city.
Their move here comes off the back of a year travelling the world with their children, after they decided to give up their “hectic” Sydney lifestyle.
“We were partners in a corporate business, so after having our first child, renovating our house as well as more study, we decided it was all slightly nuts,” he says.
So, they hit the road with a four-year-old and an eight-month-old and ended up in Nelson.
“During our travel, we knew what we didn’t want to do. My ex-role was disconnected from people and the community so, when we arrived here, we knew we didn’t want corporate jobs,” says Gary.
“What attracted us to Morri Street Café was its ethos of sustainability and community, the great staff and great quality food. It just felt right, so we jumped right in – quite slowly though.”
He says they’re not planning on making too many major changes but would like to include a few new additions, such as a children’s art wall.
“All the classics will stay, we might put a twist on a few things and are considering opening nights in the future.”
Kay says her last day will be on March 12 but will stick around for a few days to ensure the handover goes smoothly.