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Monica's Eatery, West End Precinct, New Plymouth

One year in the shadow of Monica Brewster

Monica's Eatery, West End Precinct, New Plymouth

It’s been quite the first year for Monica’s Eatery. From embarking on an ambitious opening week, which saw them catering to thousands in conjunction with the much anticipated Len Lye Centre all the way through to their first birthday dinner celebrations a couple of weeks ago. It may be the impressive Len Lye Centre that looms over Monica’s Eatery, but it is the much larger shadow cast by the legacy of the gallery’s patron Monica Brewster that really influences this place.

Monica Brewster was a woman of the world, active in causes that enriched her city and local community in New Plymouth. If we can considered the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and subsequent Len Lye Centre to be a pathfinder as a leading contemporary art museum today, almost half a century on from her death, it is because Monica was a pathfinder; a futurist known for her liberal values and independent thought.

It was with this in mind that the owners of the aptly named Monica’s Eatery have channelled her legacy. Monica’s Eatery is an environment inspired by the life and spirt of Monica Brewster. She was highly respected throughout her life by the local community, considered progressive for her time, an innovative, create and generous woman.

Monica’s Eatery has had a challenging first year in many ways, and there may have even been a few fears and tears, but the rewards have also flowed as has the champagne.

It has always been the knowledge that by their choice of name, Monica’s has a legacy to live up to, and it has been this idea that has keep them striving to achieve the best in what they do. In conjunction with the gallery, Monica’s has held some amazing and innovative events this past year, some of the highlights including the directors dinners and catering the gallery’s multiple exhibition openings. But topping it off was when they hosted the fantastic black tie dinner earlier this year in the large works gallery for the Govett Brewster Foundation, and their latest undertaking to host regular ‘dinner and a movie’ nights with films screened in the gallery cinema.

But it certainly is not all about their friends next door, the support they have received from the local community has been outstanding, an ongoing testament to the community that Monica Brewster loved. Throughout this year they have established a loyal following in the community, with locals and tourists alike always looking forward to nourishment in the form of a morning coffee, any and every meal during the day and most certainly a relaxed wine or cocktail in the evening.

In may be in Monica Brewster’s shadow that Monica’s Eatery has arisen, but it will be their warm service, innovative menu and light filled environment that will create their legacy for many years to come.