Changes are afoot for two well-known Te Anau restaurants.
Flamboyant Italian restauranteur Roberto Lombardi and his chef wife Christina have sold their popular Italian restaurant La Dolce Vita to Kepler Restaurant owners Eduardo Zamora and Soledad Dorador, who take over next week.
In addition to now owning two popular restaurants along Te Anau's main road, Mr Zamora and Mrs Dorador plan to swap the locations of the restaurants so that the new Kepler Restaurant will operate in the larger La Dolce Vita property.
The new La Dolce Vita restaurant will move down closer to the Te Anau lakefront at the current Kepler location.
Having spent 12 years in Te Anau, Mr Lombardi said he wanted to sell his Italian restaurant as he was getting older and wanted to give his family the flexibility to live between Te Anau and his hometown in Lake Garda, Italy, six months at a time.
He said he and his wife still had ties to Te Anau through the Te Anau Lakefront B&B they owned.
Spurred on by the positive impact of recent tourism growth, Mr Zamora said he was interested in using La Dolce Vita's facilities to offer more fire grilled steakhouse-type items in addition to the Kepler's standard fare.
"Kepler is going to be the same. [We're] trying to keep the same atmosphere, same service, same food," he said. "Kepler has just changed the location"
The new La Dolce Vita would offer Italian and South American dishes, Mr Zamora said.
Through their business deal the two men said they had found more than a couple of things in common. They said both were immigrants to New Zealand — Mr Lombardi from Italy and Mr Zamora from Patagonia, Chile — and both men were self-proclaimed workaholics who shared the same birthday.
Both Mr Lombardi and Mr Zamora wanted to thank the Te Anau community for their continued support throughout the years.
Both restaurants are now closed for the winter season. Mr Zamora said the new Kepler Restaurant location would open in mid-August, while the new La Dolce Vita's seasonal opening date was still to be announced.