The Elephant Wrestler: Takapuna’s social kitchen

There’s lots going on at Takapuna’s “social kitchen” and “larger than life local” – The Elephant Wrestler. And lots more planned. Owner Steve Shute says the team has a really exciting summer coming up.

Steve Schute - Elephant WrestlerNew group dining initiatives will “make for some fun and affordable nights out”, and  2018 hit events like The Rib Joint Pop-Up and Lip Sync Battles will return. But before that, December is all about sharing. Menu items already proving popular are “Dragon Babies”, small plate selections, curated to be a fusion of Asian flavours. “You have to try the Coconut Chicken and the Pork Belly bites,” he enthuses. “Honestly, these are amazing dishes.”

In January, you’ll find more new sharing menus (“great value menus designed for any style of light meal catch-ups”) on the website.

The new (in 2018) courtyard area certainly lends itself to catch-ups. It’s an open, inviting space, making it a great place to relax over food or drinks.

Even newer is the Joylab rewards programme.  “You can now earn and redeem rewards dollars in all twenty-three [Joylab] establishments, six of which are based on the North Shore,” Steve says. “Expanding this rewards programme to include other establishments in the network is very exciting.”

Steve says he and his team approach every day with “a desire to exceed our customers’ expectations. We invest a huge amount of money in training and development for team members, and I truly believe that we succeed because we value our customers and always aim to exceed their expectations, in service, value, quality and environment and atmosphere. From the glassy to myself, the owner, we all have the same responsibility to ensure customers get the very best experience that we can deliver each and every day.”

There’s no denying that succeeding in Takapuna requires dedication – and imagination. “Takapuna hospitality is absolutely the most populated and compressed market that I have operated in in my 25 years in this industry. We really need to be in touch with our patrons and the community. Our ‘Local Heroes’ programme, starting next year, will reinforce our commitment to the community as a whole.”

That said, Steve knows this won’t be the end of re-invention for The Elephant Wrestler. “The forever-changing market place that we operate in is challenging and exciting. But we have to always keep re-inventing ourselves.”

“We are the local pub and we love that,” he adds. “We challenge ourselves every day to ensure that the word pub is seen to be that venue offering delicious food, great beer, awesome entertainment and attentive courteous service without any pretence or arrogance. The pub has traditionally been the heart of small communities and we aim to be the same: a meeting place, a place for families and friends to catch up for drinks, dinner and some quality time together while being looked after by a team of people who actually want to do the ‘looking after’ part. We want to be your favourite destination where you’re served by your favourite service people.”

Just because it’s a local pub doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy The Elephant Wrestler for special occasions – of any sort. “We have an abundance of options.  Reach out to Aimee on; she loves to take all the stress out of planning your catch up, big or small.”

The Elephant Wrestler, 138 Hurstmere Road, Takapuna
Landline: 09 489 8030 Mob: 021 279 4389

By: Christine Young

Issue 94 December 2018. Click HERE to view the article in Channel Magazine online.

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