t bay cafe opened in the Whitehouse Road shops in Titahi Bay, Porirua in late 2020.
In the years before 2020 there were very few small cafe or restaurant establishments in Titahi Bay. Cafe or resaurant businesses came and went, but by around early 2017 there were no full service cafes or restaurants operating in Titahi Bay. With a growing population there was clearly a need for somewhere the community could come to meet, socialise, and enjoy coffees and meals.
The vision and plan for t bay cafe came about in early 2019, when Anna Doyle and Jeff Goldsbury committed to opening a full service licensed cafe and restaurant in Titahi Bay. Anna and Jeff had moved to Titahi Bay around the time their first child was born in 2017, and had a vision of how their community could be served, as well as a whole lot of confidence that a full service cafe, if done right, would work and that the people would come.
The aim was to create a top quality, welcoming and accessible cafe as good as or better than the best cafes to be found in New Zealand's urban cities, planted right in the middle of Titahi Bay. This would require acquiring a building fit for purpose, getting the design right, investing, getting the vibe and ambience right, and bringing on board chefs and front of house staff of a calibre to guide and help shape the vision.
It was no easy feat, with many challenges along the way, but little by little things began to come together. By late 2019 the cafe building had become available, which was perfectly located in the middle of the main Titahi Bay shopping area. The mall itself had fallen into a state of disuse, slowly decaying from what was a vibrant shopping area in the 1970's, through to a prolonged decline during the recession of the 1980's and finally being dealt a death blow by the opening of the North City Plaza mall in Porirua in the 1990's. By the 2000's, the mall had settled into a resigned state of disrepair, with many boarded up shopfronts and little foot traffic. Tumbleweeds blew through the mall, but the building was perfect.
Designs for the cafe were underway. A Head Chef (Timm Livingstonn) from one of Wellington's best rated cafes had just moved to Titahi Bay and had answered the staff wanted ad. A Head Barista and Front of House Manager (Janet Bostock) was at that time looking for a new challenge and also answered the ad. Other local people, with or without experience, enthusiastically answered the ad.
Timm and Janet quickly saw and shared the vision for what the cafe was to become and with Anna and Jeff immediately set to work planning out systems, processes, supplier relationships, and staff requirements. Interviews were had with keen local Titahi Bay applicants, all of whom were immediately hired. Word had got around and the assumption underpinning all of the planning was that the cafe could be immediately busy and popular. We would prove all the doubters wrong.
Building and fitout started, then COVID hit. On 28 February 2020 the first COVID case was identified in New Zealand. By 25 March 2020 the whole of New Zealand had gone into lockdown, with all but non essential businesses closed. The cafe fitout and opening was delayed to November 2020.
On 9 November 2020, the cafe finally opened, and has quickly become a popular place for the Titahi Bay community and beyond to meet for quality coffee, breakfasts, lunches and drinks.
t bay cafe is proudly independently owned and operated in Titahi Bay, Porirua.