Customs House History
Opened in August 1902, the original building, designed by Mr D West, operated as a Government Customs House until the late 1970s. From 1990 - 1995, it became Casa Italia, an Italian restaurant.
The historical value of the building lies in its long and close association with the port of Timaru. This, added to the building's great architectural distinction and prominent setting in the townscape, make it a building of national importance.
Chef Jared Aldridge and business partner Brent Rands spotted the iconic building on a trip to Timaru. Captured by the building’s classical beauty, inherent dignity and proximity to the heart of town, they promptly bought it. It has been operating as a fine dining restaurant ever since.
To ensure the building was not lost to the ravages of time, the Historic Places Trust purchased the building several years ago and now lease it back to the restaurant.