You don’t have to drive far north from New Plymouth to end up in the middle of nowhere and now, when you get there, you can feast on a traditional German sausage.
The newest food stop on State Highway 3 in Taranaki offers something a little different to the standard pie and sandwich for the road.
Patrick Lachmann, originally from Germany, and partner Nathalie Van Dort, from Holland, have opened Bratwurst Bros SH3 Uruti Rest Stop and Butchery Shop, offering coffee and traditional German cuisine, just before Mt Messenger heading north.
Or as Lachmann calls it, his “little butchery in the middle of nowhere”.
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“In Germany we have these autobahns and the rest stops are quite common there and there’s just nothing around here where you can drive in, with lots of room to park, and sit down and relax, toilets and everything you need,” Lachmann said.
“We thought should we do pies and stuff, but we wanted to be different and since we’ve been open not one single person is asked if we’ve got a pie to do something else. They all just look and say yeah, I’ll try that,” Van Dort added.
Uruti sits roughly 45 kilometers north of New Plymouth and the 2018 census put the population at 864, but the vast majority of those people live rurally and there is no centralised settlement to speak of.
Coming from the busy streets of European cities, the pair prefer the quiet lifestyle Taranaki offers.
Lachmann, who owned seven restaurants in Germany before selling up and traveling, had been operating Bratwurst Bros in Taranaki as a mobile business on his barbecue bike since 2015.
But the pair, who met in Taranaki, recently decided it was time to expand and set down some roots for a while.
Their chosen site might be in the “middle of nowhere” but plenty of people pass by on their way to somewhere else.
The highway around Uruti carries about 2500 vehicles per day, with 20 per cent of the traffic heavy vehicles. Which is why their carpark is big enough for 18 wheelers.
They pair moved to Uruti in September and opened the rest stop four weeks ago. But the idea has been five years in the making, and they have invested around $250,000 to make it happen.
“A lot of blood, sweat, and tears too,” Lachmann said.
The pair live behind the rest stop and Van Dort said she had gone from being stuck in traffic for an hour to get to work, when she lived in Holland, to now only having to commute a few steps.
A friend of Lachmann’s built the container they operate out of, which was shipped over from Germany in 2017. They open it seven days a week, 7am to 2pm weekdays, and until 4pm on weekends.
Lachmann produces all the meat products himself, with a butchery and smokehouse behind the rest stop – some days he starts the process at 3am.
Currywurst is one of their popular traditional dishes. It consists of sausage cut into chunks and seasoned with curry ketchup, topped with curry powder and served with chips or bread.
Lachmann said you could get currywurst on every corner in Germany and it was the go-to meal at the end of a night out.
As well as selling food on the go, they sell sausages, bacon, and smoked cheese to takeaway.
“We say there’s always room and time for a good sausage,” Van Dort said.