When you sell your business then buy a new one in the same week, it’s easy to think it was meant to be. By Leigh Parker

But when you buy a boutique cinema and eatery then find you’ve sold your restaurant to people who worked in the movie industry, the fingers of fate definitely seem evident ...

“It’s uncanny how it all happened,” says Eve Clive-Griffin who with husband Travis has opened The Screening Room Cinema and Eatery in Masterton’s Kuripuni Village.

As the owners of Greytown’s much-loved Saluté for 16 years, many mourned their decision to sell earlier this year.

“It was simply time for a change,” says Eve.

“We had done our time at Saluté. It was the business we had through the birth of our three children, the youngest of whom is now ten, and we really enjoyed it. But we felt the business was ready for its next chapter and we were ready to move on to our next phase.”

Eve wasn’t at all convinced that next phase should involve another restaurant and thought she and Travis would take a long break to mull over their next move. “I had actually said ‘no more restaurants’ but food is Travis’s life and I shouldn’t have been surprised – but I was – to  find that for several months, he had been quietly meeting Dave Borman at the site of his cinema development.”

Dave owns and has been instrumental in the sympathetic restoration of many of the Wairarapa’s landmark properties. It was his vision to develop an old auto shop on the corner of Queen and Crayne Streets into a boutique cinema and eatery that Eve says is going to give locals and visitors a much-needed new entertainment venue.

 

There are two 60-seater cinemas showing a mix of arthouse and mainstream movies five times a day, seven days a week. And there is a new eatery serving modern, fresh and punchy dishes, as well as coffee and cake and small plates to cinema goers.

The comfortable cinema seats have side tables and a wine bottle holder for movie goers to be able to take their drinks and nibbles in to watch a movie screened using the latest audio-visual technology.

The eatery has both indoor and outdoor seating, and there are leather banquettes in the foyer where people can sit with their co ee or wine.

Eve describes the menu as international flavours influenced by their travels. As well as a full restaurant menu, there is a small cinema menu and a selection of baking, counter food and small plates.

For Eve and Travis, The Screening Room is all about creating an experience.

“Some people come to watch a movie with a nice coffee and cake or glass of wine and cheeseboard, and others come in for high-quality dining. Then we get those who come for both a meal and a movie.

“Whatever they’re after, we do our absolute utmost to provide a quality experience.”

A special feature of the new building is the restaurant’s parquet  floor which has been carefully moved from the Chilton building in Masterton’s King Street. Made out of totara and matai from local farms, it was laid in the early 1940s as a war-time project by the Country Women’s Institute.

Eve and Travis are both excited to be part of the up-and-coming Kuripuni Village, which Eve says reminds them of how Greytown was 10 years ago.

They are also excited at the potential of the venue to host special events and functions – including live music, comedy shows, and  lm festivals with accompanying degustation menus.

It’s clear that Eve and Travis feel they are where they are meant to be – and nothing proves that more than how The Screening Room got its name.

“We were meeting with the new owners of Saluté one day who worked in the movie industry for years and they asked us what we were going to call it. We hadn’t decided that yet so we had a great conversation about how we liked to watch movies.

“They told us about the screening room – where writers, editors and actors watch a  rst cut of a movie in big, lush seats with food and drinks.

“We loved the concept of that viewing experience and the name, but we especially loved that it was inspired by Kenneth and Jason who now own Saluté.”

Meant to be, indeed.

The Screening Room,

435 Queen St,

Kuripuni Village, Masterton.

Ph 06 378 6191,

facebook.com/TheScreeningRoomNZ