Whanganui's popular Yellow House Cafe has been nominated as one of New Zealand's best cafes.

It is in the running for a people's choice prize in the 2017 New Zealand Cafe of the Year awards.

The competition asks locals to pick the top coffee spot for their city, with Yellow House siting in seventh place for the lower North Island.

Owner Stewart Belk is pleasently surprised by the news.

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"It's great - but I had no idea, to be perfectly honest."

Mr Belk opened the cafe with his buisness partner Johnanthan Banks over five years ago.

"Our mission that we go by is we always wanted that neighbourhood style cafe," said Mr Belk.

"We didn't want to be a CBD cafe, we always wanted to have that sort of family friendly atmosphere. Not just for our customers but for our employees as well.

"It's the whole package, we're set in an old villa so you automatically get that old homely feel."

Steve West stops in every day to the cafe before work.

"It's just nice when you go somewhere first thing in the morning and people are really nice to you," said Mr West.

"I like that when you get a meal there everythings baked on the premises... you never get a bad coffee."

The top pick for the region will go on to compete for New Zealand's Cafe of the Year. With the overall winner receiving a $7,500 trip to Melbourne and a $20,000 editorial in Dish Magazine.

So what's Mr Belk's secret for a fantastic coffee?

"Basically having a very good quality roaster and years of training."

To vote for Yellow House Cafe txt 1425 to 3336, or go to www.cafeoftheyear.co.nz to nominate your favourite spot.