Don’t let the name fool you – there’s nothing industrial about this revamped local tavern.
The stylish Quarry Tavern at Te Puna sets out to be an upmarket yet affordable neighbourhood tavern, and achieves this in spades (sorry). Publican and part-owner Denny Barry, with more than 20 years in the industry, an earlier co-owner of Latitude 37 at the Mount, knows his business – and it shows.
The original Quarry Tavern associated with restaurateur Mike Collisimo had gone into receivership, and sat idle for a time. When Denny and his partners took over, it was a ‘great, big echoey church of a room.’ They set about changing that. A stone fireplace, a huge hanging ‘quarry wheel’ light, and giant light shades all nicely break up the cavernous space.
The new venture opened its doors on October 22nd, and has already won strong support from locals for a formula that includes ‘exceptional good food at reasonable prices,’ and some fine spots to while away an hour or two, such seated outdoors under grape vines trained over the pergolas. (Or in drab weather, plush leather sofas in front of a stone fireplace).
A variety of seating arrangements cater for different needs – and number of people - from the comfy sofas, to real pub-type, high tables and chairs. Big screen TV’s in two corners thankfully don’t run full-time; they’re flicked on for the big sporting matches or events.
Denny Barry investigated plenty of other establishments before refining his Quarry ideas, and setting out to re-work the ‘old country tavern, the country pub that’s part of the community.’ Family-friendly was a key aim: a playground was built so that Mum and Dad could come down and ‘have a glass and a bit of a break,’ and the kids could entertain themselves for a while.
Not surprisingly, Te Puna locals are thrilled to have the Quarry open again, and have responded well to a large, well-priced menu, says Denny. The Quarry’s able to keep a lid on prices partly because it doesn’t have full table service – you pay and order up at the counter.
Denny admits that there’s been a little of resistance while people get used to the system, but the advantages are two-fold. The first is of course, reduced labour costs without the waiting staff. Secondly, it makes the dining that little bit more casual. ‘We are trying to casual things up a bit.’ Nothing on the menu costs over $27, with the most expensive dish a 350 gram steak at $26.50 (with Portobello mushrooms, rocket, etc). A popular breakfast or brunch choice is the ‘Rock Crusher,’ a plate-size hash brown with bacon, cheese, onion and other trimmings.
Light meals are priced from $14.50 and dishes like chicken salad or a steak sandwich ($19.50) are in demand. The kids menu sparks a bit of nostalgia with ‘mouse traps’ – cheese and bacon on toast.
The tavern has Heineken on tap, wine by the glass from $7.50, and a wine list with plenty of choices.
The Quarry takes its name from nearby Te Puna Quarry Park, a disused quarry turned into a park with walking tracks, beguiling art works and sculptures by local artists. Combine the two for a fine day out - Quarry Park and then Quarry Tavern to rest and refuel...
Location: State Highway 2 Te Puna, tel 552 6650, www.thequarrytavern.co.nz