Amigos brings the fun

Amigos Invercargill managing director James and Sye Emanuel at the new restaurant. Photo: Laura Smith

THE owner of a new restaurant hopes to bring the flavours and fun of Mexican culture to the southernmost city in New Zealand.

Amigos Invercargill managing director James Emanuel had been planning to open a branch of his popular restaurant for 18 months.

He had four places in mind, but when Subway in Wachner Pl closed during the Covid-19 lockdown, he secured the prime spot.

“There is no Mexican restaurant here and, from a geographical perspective, this restaurant is close to where our other restaurants are [Wanaka, Alexandra and Cromwell].

“It is all about bringing fun.”

With 17 different taco flavours on the menu and a range of drink options, including the well-known margarita, Mr Emanuel wanted to promote a relaxed and cosy place for the community.

He said at all his businesses, the community played an important part and he believed the new site would please not only the increasing Latin community in town, but everyone.

“We seem to be popular wherever we open.

“The big thing for us here is people — people and planet.’’

When asked what that meant, Mr Emanuel explained the focus on customer service was treating all customers as he would like to be treated.

He also had a big concern for the environment — all the furniture was made from wooden pallets, refurbished materials and items found in op-shops.

“We have new kitchen equipment, but the rest is everything restored.

“We know this industry is environmentally irresponsible but we are trying to make a positive step towards the future.

“We are trying our best here.”

Mr Emanuel said he planned to open three more restaurants in the next couple of years, including in other towns in Southland.

“We are trying to expand slowly, consciously and sustainable.”

The official opening of Amigos — hot tacos and cool margaritas — would be today at 5pm. They would be taking limited bookings for the first 10 days in order to make sure they are doing the work properly.

The restaurant would also be open for lunch and, next year, would offer takeaways.

“Someone once asked me what we sell here and my response to it was place and everybody is welcome.”url cloneBoots