Express burger with that, sir?

22:30, Jan 03 2012
Bare Back Grill
Bare Back Grill in San Deigo

It's not often the Marlborough Express is delivered to the United States, but a restaurant owner in San Diego wants to cover the walls of his new restaurant with our newsprint and have copies for patrons to read.

PJ Lamont plans to open his third restaurant, Raglan Public House, in about three weeks in the Ocean Beach area.

Mr Lamont said he planned to use the newspaper as wallpaper in the restaurant, behind the bar and on the toilet walls and also have some copies for people to read in the dining restaurant.

Wall (news)paper: Marlborough Express editor Steve Mason is delighted that copies of the paper will adorn the walls of a new restaurant in San Diego

The Express would be the main newspaper in the restaurant because the wines on the menu were mostly from Marlborough, he said.

It would also feature a few papers from Auckland and Central Otago because its wine list also included some wine from those regions.

He contacted the Express wanting 10 to 20 editions of the paper sent to the restaurant and additional copies sent each week.


The Raglan Public House would have a relaxed beach theme, with the outside clad in weathered wood and a big garage door as the entrance.

It would also feature a shuffleboard, darts and wooden tables.

The other two restaurants, both called The Bare Back Grill, were designed in a similar way, he said. The first restaurant was set up in 2005 after Mr Lamont had a month-long holiday to New Zealand in 2004. His inspiration included the menu at the well-known Ferg Burger takeaway joint in Queenstown.

"Being an American, where we do the hamburger, I didn't see how it could be any better or different, but then I saw a line out the door. It was awesome."

He and his business partner spent about a week in their kitchen and also worked on recipes from Queenstown.

Both his restaurants (the second was established in 2008) had done well and had won several awards for their hamburgers, he said.

Aside from burgers, the restaurants also did Kiwi favourite fish and chips as well as using produce from farmers markets and organic grass-fed beef.

The restaurants had become an attraction for Kiwis on the US west coast, where they sometimes got special treatment, he said.

"Usually we do end up buying Kiwis beers and we've got a couple who work for us."

The New Zealand and Australian navies also rented out the restaurants on Anzac Day and they became an unofficial home for expat Kiwis during the Rugby World Cup last year, he said.

"We're the only two bars that cater to the rugby crew. The [Rugby World Cup] final was out of control. We had Kiwis from Los Angeles, which is three hours away."

Plans for another restaurant, Queenstown Public House, were also in the making, he said.

Editor Steve Mason said the Express was only too happy to send papers to the US to the new restaurant.

News from the Marlborough region was always available globally on the Express website at, but sending papers was an idea he hoped would lead to a long relationship.

The Marlborough Express