Horst throws in the apron
After preparing about 500,000 steaks during the past 38 years, Ainos Steakhouse and Restaurant owner Horst Strobel has thrown in the apron.
A special function was held for Mr Strobel, who trained in Germany, on Sunday night with old newspaper stories, menus and photos scattered across the tables, which were dressed in their original settings.
An old coffee grinder also set the scene as though it were 1975 - the year Mr Strobel took over the restaurant.
Mr Strobel said not a lot had changed since then, with the same selection of steaks on the menu, but the restaurant had almost doubled in size after he added three new rooms.
When he took over, the main dining room was the only area developed and the wallpaper was a pattern of ropes.
Mr Strobel said it was the regular patrons who had kept the business going and some of those were invited to the farewell function along with old and current staff.
''There are some people still coming who have been coming right since I started.''
His steaks are something of a legend according to reviews online. Some of the comments on Menu Mania included, ''This is by far the best steak house in the country ... any steak you order is always cooked to perfection, just the way you ordered it,'' and ''best steak in New Zealand.''
Mr Strobel said he was not sad about leaving because of health problems but would continue to come back and eat at the restaurant.
The new owners surprised him at the farewell when they presented him with some scissors to cut the ribbon on a room, which has been dedicated to him and named Horst's Bar.
Ainos Steakhouse and Restaurant was established in 1962 by Aino Burgess.
The Southland Times