Community News

Two popular businesses in Pilgrim’s celebrate their 25TH birthday

Frieda Paton

This month sees 25 years since both The Vine Restaurant & Johnny’s Pub and their neighbour, Kuzzulo’s Emporium, opened their doors in 1994.

Both these businesses in Downtown, Pilgrim’s Rest, are very popular with visitors. They often have visiting tourists from overseas who had received a recommendation from friends in their home country.

Johnny Reinders, the proprietor of the Vine and Johnny’s Pub, is probably the most loved and well-known resident in Pilgrim’s. Currently, his son, who everyone knows as JT, is being groomed to take over the reins. Johnny’s wife René, who works full-time at museum services, also puts countless hours into this family business.

Reinders first started the business in Uptown, after being approached by the then Transvaal Provincial Administration to provide somewhere for visitors to eat. Soon, however, he was offered the current building in Downtown.

The Vine is named after an eating house/pub which was established in 1874 in the Middle Camp on the old diggings which “alone has been able to withstand the buffets of adverse fortune,” according to the Goldfields Mercury of May 24, 1877. This was after most of the diggers had left seeking greener pastures.

The building occupied by The Vine is one of the original old business premises in Pilgrim’s.  It was built as a general dealer by Camille Benci and resold or transferred a number of times over the years, until around the time when the TPA bought the village from Transvaal Gold Mining Estates.

The current Kuzzulo’s Emporium was opened by Eugene Swanepoel in 1994.  Originally he dealt in antique and vintage collectables and offered gold panning tours.  Later, he and his wife, Jenny, added the old-time photographic studio where visitors can dress up in vintage clothing for a memorable photo shoot.

The building is also one of the original old buildings dating from 1904. It was built by Mihu Kuzzulo, from Croatia, who operated a general dealer from the premises. To celebrate their 25th-anniversary Kuzzulo’s Emporium is offering a lucky draw with a prize, including up to 100% discount, for each vintage photo shoot during the month of April.

The owners of The Vine Restaurant & Johnny’s Pub and Kuzzulo’s Emporium successfully weathered the storms of the recent tender process and its business as usual. We wish them a Happy Birthday and another 25 successful years!

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