(l-r) Tony Stewart and Nobu Lee. Photo credit Clooney.

Fine dining restaurant Clooney is set to close its doors for the very last time October 13, 13 years to the day it opened.

Owner and manager Tony Stewart who has dedicated almost 30 years to the hospitality industry has made the difficult decision to call it quits due to health issues which leave it untenable for him to continue running the restaurant at the level he is accustomed to.

Stewart, who was born with cystic fibrosis is one of 203 adults aged 25 and over living with the disease in New Zealand, and of that number there are 47 adults aged 45+.

The three hatted restaurant, one of only four in New Zealand, has the talented chef Nobu Lee leading the kitchen with a menu theme that focuses on telling a New Zealand culinary story.

Stewart has been a fixture of the Auckland hospitality scene since he opened his first lounge bar in the ‘90s, but it was the arrival of Clooney in 2006 that firmly established his reputation as a restaurateur.

Stewart says he’s looking forward to ensuring the last ten weeks of operation deliver an exceptional dining experience to all diners.

“I’m incredibly proud of the direction we’ve taken with Clooney and our dedication to kickstart important conversations around New Zealand ingredients and the need to get NZ food noticed.

“Our canapé selection especially has allowed us to showcase the exciting food story of indigenous ingredients, what makes them exceptional and why they contribute to New Zealand’s exciting food story.

“I chose to build a restaurant that is heavily reliant on a hands on style of leadership, one that leads by example, a style that has bought so much satisfaction to me over the years, but now, one that is very difficult to maintain.

“I want to thank all customers past and present for their support of Clooney, there have been many highs – and many challenges – but both have driven me as much as each other. I have always lived with a deep passion for the hospitality industry and can’t imagine having taken any other path than this one.

“It is definitely my intention to stay with this industry in some capacity, hopefully one that furthers New Zealand’s culinary identity and story.”

The restaurant will close its doors on Sunday 13 October. All vouchers will be honoured for bookings up to this date, bookings can be made by contacting the restaurant on [email protected] or by booking via the website at www.clooney.co.nz.

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