We sat down with Thai, the owner of the fabulous NZ institution that is Ronnie’s Cafe. We found out a bit about the history of Ronnie’s and what treats Thai loves to bake.
- Tell us a bit about how you took over running Ronnie’s?
Well the man himself, Ronnie, set up the flagship decades ago – I was never lucky enough to meet him. When he retired he passed the business on, and the new owner set up several Ronnie’s all over the North Island – Matamata, Rotorua and Hamilton just to name a few. I took over from him in 2004 and have loved watching the business flourish.
- Tell us about what you have seen out the window throughout all these years – how much has the view changed in the CBD?
The view has changed a lot! It feels a lot busier, with more tourists coming from cruise ships over the years. It has been really interesting to watch Commercial Bay being built too. Being on the corner you get to see the city come alive when there are sporting events, festivals etc. Things have been a little quiet the last few months so we’re looking forward to Auckland getting busy again.
- What is your top-selling food item?
Well, it depends on the season. In Winter you can probably guess – always the pies and sausage rolls! In Summer we sell a lot of iced coffees and our fresh salads and sandwiches. But there are still some die-hard pie fans that buy them year-round.
- Tell us about your customers – any regulars that have been coming for years?
We have some great loyal customers that have been coming for years! A few of them have retired and we miss them, but there are new faces all the time when new businesses move into the area.
- What do you think people like about Ronnie’s?
They love the food – it’s traditional kiwi food that reminds them of their childhood. People say to us all the time how much they enjoy our bakes because they are just as tasty as they remember them as kids. We’re proud to serve food that brings about nostalgia and emotion.
- You bake everything in-house, what is your favourite thing to make?
That’s a really tough question because I love making everything! The doughnuts are a lot of fun, but because we make everything fresh in-house I’m happy to serve it all – because I know that people will be happy with the quality.
Thanks so much, Thai, safe to say our mouths are watering! Great to have you just downstairs at 1 Albert Street.