AUCKLAND – Aucklanders have been turning out in droves to support a Korean pancake store that has been a stalwart of the central city for nearly two decades – and is about to move.

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No.1 Pancake operates out of a small hole in the wall on Lorne Street and has gained a large cult following over the past 17 years.

It will close its central city windows for the final time at 7pm on 30 July 2021.

Crowds of people gathered at the top of Lorne Street from 11.30am on Thursday, with the line snaking around the corner to Wellesley Street.

One passer-by stopped to ask if Justin Bieber was in town, but Bieber Fever this is not. All these people were waiting for was pancakes; specifically, Korean filled pancakes from the hole-in-the-wall that has been there since 2004.

No.1 Pancake will end its run in the central city on Friday, and will move 18km north to Rosedale.

Jonathan Lim’s family owns the shop, and he said they were nervous about the big move.

“It’s definitely sad. It’s sad whenever we see our regular customers come up, and we think of all the memories that we’ve had with them.

“There’s a mixture of sadness, nervousness, but definitely anticipation and excitement for the future as well.”

The announcement of their move lit up social media, with more than 1000 Facebook comments from upset customers.

The owners say the lease on the tiny shopfront was coming to an end, and after some careful consideration, they decided not to renew it.

Customer Hela Hartdegen said she was devastated by the move.

“When I saw the Facebook post I was like, ‘Okay, I need to write something and immediately tag somebody so that they come with me and get some pancakes before they sell out.'”

Mel Goodwright is a regular, and said the news of the closure came as a shock.

“I literally almost cried. Then I tagged everyone in the Instagram post. all my friends,I’m like ‘please come with me, let’s go and like get one last one’.”

Lim said the family was grateful for all the attention as they get ready to start again in a new space.

“We move as a family unit, so we’re definitely going to be all in it together.

“I think that’s what being a family business and being a family is all about.”

Published with special permission from RNZ