Best Eatery on the Road 2015: the winners

By: The Ed

It’s been a three-year trip to the top of the Best Eatery on the Road, but owners of Rangitaiki Tavern, Duncan and Marion Klaus, say the hard work has been worth the all the effort.

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"We got fifth place in 2013, runner-up in 2014, and this year, the top prize," says Duncan.
The look on his face is one of quiet satisfaction.

The husband and wife team are on-the-road mum and dad to the many truckers that find themselves around the Napier-Taupo Highway in the central North Island.

"Truck drivers can work very unsocial hours, so we take it on ourselves to ensure that they are fed and comfortably accommodated," says Marion.

As well as providing a lengthy menu of trucker-sized meals, Duncan, Marion and staff have a regular buffet of home-style cooking to make that time away from families that much easier for truckers.

"We also have tourists and other motorists that call in for a rest and a meal, but the truck drivers provide us with our bread and butter," says Marion.

Runner-up: Dunsandel Stop Shop

It’s second time a charm for Dunsandel’s favourite roadside cafe, as the Dunsandel Stop Shop scores runner-up in the Deals On Wheels 2015 Best Eatery on the Road competition.

When Ben Batchelor and his trusty team at the Dunsandel Stop Shop won the national runner-up award in 2013, this busy roadside cafe just south of Christchurch along State Highway 1 could well have been Canterbury’s best kept secret.

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Now, with another win to go on the wall, we dare say the secret is well and truly out.

"It was exciting when we won runner-up the first time. Now we’ve won it again and I reckon we could take out the top prize next year!"

Ben says the key to the cafe’s success is excellent staff, the exceptionally clean and tidy way the cafe is presented, and the great food.

"We have a lot of customers who are creatures of habit; they come in because they know what they like and they order the same thing. We could almost get some peoples’ food ready while they’re getting out of their vehicle."

Another sure sign of just how popular the Dunsandel Stop Shop is? Ben has gone from three staff members nine years ago, to eight today. It’s a busy operation and enjoys regular patronage both during the working week and at the weekends.

Opening at 5am during the week (7am on Saturdays and 8am on Sundays) ensures this popular little place is open for every type of customer.

Keep an eye out for next year’s Best eatery on the Road competition.

Read the full article in issue #261 of Deals on Wheels magazine. Subscribe here.

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