Monarch cafe proud to be celebrating 20 years of business

It has been 20 years of good food, good wine, and good community spirit at the Monarch Cafe in Pukekohe. In May this year, they celebrated their 20th anniversary.
Dean Sheppard took over the restaurant and bar in 1998, following retirement from rugby.
“I didn’t know what to do, this opportunity came up, and we opened in 1998 with very little knowledge of the industry.”
Twenty years later, Dean is still learning every day. “You never stop learning,” he said, “you grow with your business.”
Dean thanks the community and the loyal patrons. “Pukekohe has an awesome village feel. Coming to work is like a social outing for me,” he laughs.
“Over the 20 years there have been hundreds of people come through, generations of staff, customers and friends. It’s gone quick. People warn you how fast it goes,” he said.
Dean has changed the business as the town has changed. “When we first opened it was more of a bar. We’ve evolved into a restaurant style, with top end chefs and great kitchen crew. It is exciting.”
They’ve seen changes to the physical site too. “Council put in a nice big footpath for us to put tables on, which everyone enjoys in summer.”
He said many staff and customers have been part of the Monarch Family over the 20 years, including his own family, wife Sandra and children Connor and Kate. “We have amazing patronage. I get to see kids grow, and grow old with the customers,” he said. “The Franklin customers really make it what it is, and it’s great that people love coming here. It fills me with pride.”
As to the future of the Monarch Cafe, Dean said there are projects in the pipeline. “I like to challenge our customers with our menu, and keep things interesting. We work in an exciting industry, and we’ve still got the passion.”

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