The People Behind the Places: Meet the Food and Drink Heroes of Hastings

Bottles of beers lined up on a counter at Brave Brewing Hastings.

Hastings and the wider Hawke’s Bay region is known for its vineyards, spectacular local produce and talented creators, culminating in an epic food and drink scene in which there are many superstars.  

From talented artisan bakers, to epic coffee roasters, to brewing legends and more, these are our favourite makers, the food and drink heroes of Hastings.

Cupple & Ya Bon

Cafes key icon.

216 Heretaunga Street East, Hastings

Ya Bon French Baker is an artisan wholesale bakery that is known around Hawke’s Bay for the best sourdough in the region. In cafés and restaurants around Hastings, Havelock North and beyond, you will often come across Ya Bon pastries, recognisable by their crisp, buttery layers and, of course, delicious taste.

Ya Bon shares a space in Hastings with coffee shop Cupple, the two businesses being separated by floor-to-ceiling glass windows. So grab an espresso or flat white and enjoy watching the bakers hard at work producing the best carby goods in the land.

Workroom

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15 Joll Road, Havelock North

Caffeine superstars Workroom is a bustling morning coffee spot down the end of a laneway off Havelock North’s Joll Road. Run by coffee roasters Firsthand Coffee, the café is also the site of the roastery, so you can enjoy your fresh cup while peering into the roasting site. The pastries in the cabinet just happen to be from Ya Bon in Hastings, so do yourself a favour and order at least one, you won’t regret it!

A man walking along a path holding a Zeffer Cider.

Cider Stars

Zeffer & Three Wise Birds

The entire Hawke’s Bay region is renowned around the country for its vineyards and excellent wine production, but there are also several cideries that are pretty amazing too.

Zeffer began producing cider back in 2008, and as their popularity grew they decided to make the move to Hawke’s Bay where two key ingredients for cider making are on offer - sunshine and apples. Their taproom in Fernhill is just a 15 minute drive from central Hastings and is a great spot to enjoy tasting your Zeffer favourites, plus some new releases.

Another cidery nearby doing fantastic work is Three Wise Birds. With a family history in fruit orchards, brothers Jack and Charley know a thing or two about the ingredients they need to make a darn good cider. Their garden bar is just the place to relax in the sun with some mates or family, a glass of something special in hand.

Photo supplied by Not Stock / Nancy Zhou

Oh My Goodness Speciality Breads

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The Tribune (behind Brave Brewing, Alongside the big glass Atrium Look for OMGoodness signs 3/203 Queen Street East, Hastings

Found in Hastings’ The Tribune Precinct, Oh My Goodness Speciality Breads is serving up all the gluten-free goods. The story of this bakery, milling site and café began over 15 years ago when owner Scott first began developing his OMGoodness Bread to be not only gluten-free but nutritious, have a great texture and taste amazing. He has certainly succeeded! Now you can buy freshly baked bread on-site and there are also pre-made mixes as well so you can make your own at home. Plus, enjoy the beautiful cosy cafe set-up with nourishing food in the cabinet or order pizza by the slice, whatever you choose it’s guaranteed to be 100% yum.

Wine Around the Region

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4 Te Aute Road, 2 the Courtyard Village, Exchange, Havelock North

We cannot celebrate the food and drink heroes of Hastings without mentioning just some of the wine folk who are doing incredibly in their field.

Craggy Range Winery is synonymous with Hawke’s Bay wine production and, since it was first established in 1998, has produced an iconic collection of wines. Situated in a stunning location with views of Te Mata Peak, a visit here is a must.  Whether you do a wine tasting or have a meal at the restaurant, it is a New Zealand vineyard at its finest. If you’re staying nearby in Havelock North, make sure you go to Mary’s restaurant in town.  It’s a partnership with Craggy Range and the same impeccable service and hospitality are offered.

There are, of course, so many vineyards worth visiting, but if you're limited on time (and transportation), then a visit to one of the urban cellars might be the way to go. In the centre of Hastings, you will find Decibel, helmed by winemaker Daniel Brennan.  Pop in for a quick tasting or book ahead for a more in-depth and guided session. And in Havelock North, Smith & Sheth provide a luxury tasting experience like no other, a complete education even for the most well-versed wine lover out there.

A close up of a curry and dosa on a red table.

Colab Café by the Dosa Project

Cliff Fernandes is well known around Hastings for his much-loved dosas, which, for many years, he served at the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Markets. You can still find the Dosa Project there each Sunday, plus there is now Cliff’s Colab Café by The Dosa Project, so even more chances to enjoy his delicious food. The menu at the café changes out weekly, with cabinet specials and dishes from the kitchen all-embracing the original flair Cliff brings to the dosas at the market.

Image supplied by The Dosa Project. 

Brave Brewing Co.

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205 Queen Street East, Hastings

Husband and wife dream team Matt and Gemma began Brave Brewing Co. in late 2014 out of their home garage, which has evolved and grown over the years to a standalone brewery and taproom in The Tribune Precinct. Trying a beer direct and fresh from the source is precisely how Brave wants you to experience their brews. Their taproom provides the perfect environment to accompany your beer samplings. With a large dining room inside, a bright and breezy outdoor courtyard and a killer food menu to match, it all makes for a great afternoon or evening out.

Hawthorne Coffee Roastery & Espresso Bar

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23 Napier Road, Havelock North

Hawthorne first opened its doors back in 1999, so if you’re looking for a guaranteed great cup of coffee, then make a beeline here.

Not only are they master baristas, but their onsite roastery also produces some of the best beans around the region, and you will find many other cafés in the area using Hawthorne Coffee. If you’re short on time, there’s the perfect solution for you with the takeaway window down the side of the building. Otherwise, relax and enjoy your favourite flat white or cappuccino at one of the tables inside, and if you’re a bit peckish, why not add a Ya Bon pastry to your order?

Giant Brewing

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6 Treachers Lane, Havelock North

Giant Brewing in Havelock North is exactly the type of place you want to head to for an after-work drink or to meet up with family and friends for a casual get-together.

The atmosphere here is relaxed and inviting, with great attention to detail on the fit-out, epic beers brewed on-site and on tap, and delicious food from the Good Company Catering. What began as a small side project years ago has become this fully-fledged brewery, and it is well worth a visit if you’re in Havelock North or nearby.

Two stall holders smiling to camera.

Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Markets

Kenilworth Road Waipatu, Hastings

A visit to Hastings would not be complete without heading to the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Markets.

An institution since 2000, these Sunday markets celebrate the best local produce, artisans and makers from all around the region. There are stalls where you can stock up on pantry staples and fresh ingredients for the week ahead. Then, of course, there are the street food vendors where a delicious breakfast or lunch awaits you - the most difficult decision is which one to pick, as there’s no wrong choice!

Image supplied by Hawke's Bay Farmers Market. 

Neat Hastings Places

Smith & Sheth

The beautiful, dimly lit space of Smith and Sheth.
Place Hastings
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Smith & Sheth is the result of the passion and love of wine of renowned New Zealand Master of Wine Steve Smith and Texas investor Brian Sheth.

Brave Brewing Co.

The corner of Brave Brewing which features a shop, kitchen and dining area.
Place Hastings
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Brave Brewing Co.

Funbuns

The colourful, Asian-inspired interior of FunBuns in Hastings.
Place Hastings
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What do you get when you combine delicious food + the best cocktails in town + good vibes and atmosphere… it’s Funbuns in the centre of Hastings! 

Pipi Pizza Café

A flatly of pizza and wine on a pink table at Pipis Havelock North.
Place Hastings Editor's Pick
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Wandering around Havelock North, it’s hard to miss the bright fuschia pink facade of the pizza café and local favourite Pipi.