Amy Tepania and her crew at Ahipara's North Drift Cafe have spent much of their summer so far slaving over a hot stove. And the chances of getting to the beach for some R&R are not looking good.

The cafe has become quite a tourist attraction in its own right, particularly since Teneille Proctor and Jay-Jay Taylor let their imaginations loose on the burger menu.

Burger chef Joelene Rogers and kitchen wizard Izzy Holder could no doubt be persuaded to serve a traditional burger, with a hearty dollop of tomato sauce, but they are much happier creating the gourmet versions concocted by Teneille and Jay-Jay, which are proving spectacularly popular.

Izzy Holder, manager Amy Tepania and Wee John at work in the North Drift Cafe kitchen.
Izzy Holder, manager Amy Tepania and Wee John at work in the North Drift Cafe kitchen.

With very local names, like 90 Mile, Foreshore, Tui St, Teneke (Takahe St), Lone Pine (vegetarian) and Little Peaks (for kids), the ingredients range from the local, like avocado, roasted bell peppers, pickles, red onion and house-made tzatziki sauce, to the exotic (in burger terms), like dijon mustard, Swiss cheese, feta, Moroccan lamb, brie, plum sauce, 'special' sauce, grilled asparagus and sweet beetroot relish.


Manager/bar manager/chef Amy Tepania, Jay-Jay's mum and the last word in multi-tasking, said the cafe was doing a roaring trade, even before the major influx of holiday-makers.

Her kitchen crew included New Yorker Wee John, a keen surfer and surfing coach, who had been lured to Ahipara for a second stint by the local break, and perhaps the lack of yuletide snow.

He had just become the proud owner of a degree in accountancy, he said, which might or might not have augmented his skill as a mushroom chopper.