But on the weekend, seven years after he opened Pasture’s doors, founder and chef Ed Verner announced its closure in an Instagram post.
“As we reach our seventh birthday and having served thousands of amazing customers who have come to dine at Pasture, it is with a heavy heart that I announce that I have chosen to close the restaurant for personal reasons,” he wrote.
“I informed the staff a few weeks ago that my partner is ill with first symptoms of a hereditary disease and we have had to seek specialist treatment. Our family of staff have been very supportive during this difficult time.”
With just seven seats, Pasture has undergone several evolutions since it opened its doors in 2016. It expanded to include bar concept Boxer in 2020, and neo-bistro and bakery Alpha in 2021. All three are bundled in separate but connected spaces on the same Parnell Road site.
Over the years, Pasture and Verner himself have been the subject of both hefty praise and controversy; local and international media have applauded its sweeping, seasonal degustation menus made with hyperlocal ingredients and produce, while a 2021 article detailed former employees speaking about a toxic work environment and underpayments – accounts Verner has largely rejected.
With Alpha's opening in 2021, Verner went on to implement a four-day workweek in order to promote better work-life balance for his team.
Having made the decision to close, and the public announcement, Verner tells Broadsheet he’s still coming to terms with the reality. “It’s still quite surreal,” he says, “but I take solace in knowing I am looking out for my family and that I’ve had a supportive team behind me in this decision.”
Media reports about the closure have quoted some customers who are waiting for deposits to be refunded. “Customers will continue to be contacted about deposits held by our third-party booking system in an ongoing fashion,” Verner says. “Refunds have been made since before our announcement, and they will continue to be... As there are a large amount of inquiries to process, we appreciate our customers' patience and understanding in this process.”
The three venues will be missed by Auckland diners. Each had a singular offering that was unlike anything else in the city, and possibly the country.
While Verner says his current focus is to look after his partner, he’s open to what the future brings in the kitchen and at home. “Even days after closing Pasture my urge to run a restaurant remain[s].”
This story was updated on June 13 to include information that Alpha introduced a four-day workweek.