An Southland cafe has been judged the country's best café in the 2012-13 New Zealand Best Café Awards announced today by Cafe magazine.
The awards, now in their 12th year, has seen Mrs Clark's Cafe in Riverton take top honours, ahead of Mavis & Co. in Hamilton, a relative newcomer to the cafe scene. The top winners and runners-up were announced for 25 regions throughout New Zealand. Cafes are judged anonymously by independent reviewers.
Mrs Clark's, named after its owner more than a century ago when the historic old building was the local grocery store and bakery, is run by Cazna Gilder and her husband Pat.
Mrs Gilder said she felt emotional about the award.
"I'm pretty proud - it's been five years of hard work for us and we've had lots of community support.''
In fact, today was the first day the cafe has been closed for a month. The Gilders felt they deserved a break after a busy school holiday.
Awards chief judge Michael Guy said the café had put the tiny town of Riverton firmly on the map as a great café destination.
"Mrs Clark's has all the hallmarks of a great destination café where you come away having had a fantastic experience as far as the ambience, service, food and coffee are concerned," Mr Guy said. "With lots of hard work they have created an extremely successful venture with around 80% of its customers the locals."
Winner: Nectar Café - Whangarei.
Runner-up: Café Blue, Kerikeri .
Winner: Chocolate Brown - Warkworth.
Runner-up: Bennett's - Mangawhai.
Winner: Elle Cee - Ruawai.
Runner-up: Waterline Café - Kohukohu.
Winner: Takapuna Beach Café.
Runner-up: Grey's Ave Deli.
Winner: Colenso - Whenuakite.
Runner-up: Success Café - Coromandel.
Winner: Mavis & Co. - Hamilton.
Runner-up: Workman's - Matamata.
Bay of Plenty
Winner: Grindz - Tauranga.
Runner-up: Bravo - Tauranga.
Winner: Third Place.
Runner-up: Bookshop Café.
Winner: Opera Kitchen - Havelock North.
Runner-up: Groove Kitchen - Napier.
Winner: Café Replete. - Taupo.
Runner-up: Piccolo - Taupo.
Winner: Elixir Café.
Runner-up: Sugar Juice - Opunake.
Winner: Jolt Coffee House.
Runner-up: The Flying Fox.
Winner: Tomato Café.
Runner-up: Barista - Palmerston North.
Winner: The French Baker - Greytown.
Runner-up: Café Medici - Martinborough.
Maranui Café - Lyall Bay.
Runner-up: Café Caribe - Brooklyn.
Winner: Raupo - Blenheim.
Runner-up: CPR - Blenheim.
Winner: Morrison Street Café - Nelson.
Runner-up: Deville - Nelson.
Winner: Nor'wester Café - Amberly.
Runner-up: Crema Cafe.
Winner: Under the Red Verandah - Christchurch.
Runner-up: Black Betty.
Winner: Arthur Street Café - Timaru.
Runner-up: Verde Café - Geraldine.
Winner: Nova Café - Dunedin.
Runner-up: Riverstone Kitchen - Oamaru.
Winner: Vudu - Queenstown.
Runner-up: Vesta Café - Queenstown.
Winner: Mrs Clark's Café - Riverton.
Runner-up: The Batch Café - Invercargill.
Winner: DP1 - Greymouth.
Clocktower Café - Hokitika.
- © Fairfax NZ News