Hospitality Business Magazine

RANZ & HNZ awards name Nelson’s top hospitality dining spots

The Nelson Hospitality Awards unveiled the region’s exceptional hospitality talents at The Rutherford Hotel, last night.

The awards recognise the hospitality professionals, all of whom are making a positive impact on the local café and dining scene. The Restaurant Association of New Zealand and Hospitality New Zealand, along with the support of lead sponsor, Trents organised the awards to unite, grow and promote the Nelson hospitality industry.

Hardy St Eatery, has claimed victory in the Supreme Establishment category while Steve Gardiner has won the distinguished title of Supreme Individual.

Steve Gardiner, or ‘Gardi’ as he is affectionately known, is a Nelsonian who has owned the Nelson franchise of Lone Star since May 2016.

After a 15-year career in law enforcement, he transitioned to the hospitality industry. Gardiner has witnessed significant changes in the restaurant scene over the years, particularly the shift from traditional pubs to venues emphasising food alongside alcohol.

Gardiner values his staff and believes in retaining experienced employees. Lone Star also actively supports local sports clubs, schools, and community organizations as part of its philosophy of “Love, Care, and Generosity.”

Claiming victory in the Outstanding Restaurant Category is Hopgoods and Co, serving up elegant, seasonal NZ plates paired with local wine in a cosy, historic building.

James Rutherford, the talented chef behind Hardy St Eatery, has earned the prestigious title of Outstanding Chef for his skilful preparation of a seasonal and approachable menu, creating an atmosphere that feels just like enjoying a meal at home.

The Styx picks up two awards, the People’s Choice and the Outstanding Front of House Champion, thanks to the exceptional service provided by Yasuko Abe. Located in a tranquil seaside setting, The Styx offers an idyllic escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Their culinary philosophy revolves around crafting genuine, homemade dishes, characterised by unpretentious coastal cuisine.

Those looking for a place to get a well-served beverage can rest assured there is no shortage of great places to get a drink in the region.

Outstanding Bartender of the year went to Nick Widley of Kismet Cocktail and Whiskey Bar while the accolade of Outstanding Bar went to Red16.

Red 16 in Nelson embodies the essence of local hospitality with its relaxed ambiance, delectable cuisine, and a diverse selection of beverages, making it a prime example of the community’s welcoming spirit.

When it comes to finding the finest flat white in Nelson, your search need not go any further than Victus Coffee & Eatery. This is where Nick Schryvers, recognised as Outstanding Barista, crafts exceptional coffee, with the café as a whole securing the accolade for Outstanding Café.

A hot tourist destination, Nelson is not short of incredible accommodation options.

Ah House Nelson City B & B wins the Outstanding Small Accommodation Provider while Kimi Ora Eco Resort wins the Outstanding large Accommodation Provider.

“The culinary scene in Nelson is brimming with creativity, and these Awards provide an ideal opportunity to acknowledge and applaud the accomplishments of the dedicated individuals who contribute to it. Whether you’re a local resident savouring local flavours, a hospitality professional, or an overseas visitor, these awards present an opportunity to recognise the finest offerings of the region,” said Restaurant Association CEO Marisa Bidois.

“We must pause to acknowledge those individuals who celebrate our exceptional produce and graciously invite us into their venues. Among the remarkable finalists, there stand champions of the local hospitality industry, deserving of our recognition.”

Hospitality New Zealand Chief Executive, Steve Armitage, said that these awards celebrate the dedication and passion of the Nelson hospitality community. “It’s a real thrill to see establishments like Hardy St Eatery and individuals like Steve Gardiner receiving well-deserved recognition for their respective contributions. The diversity of offerings in Nelson, from outstanding restaurants like Hopgoods and Co to exceptional bars like Red16, highlight both the vibrancy and strength of the region.”

“Congratulations to all the winners and nominees for making Nelson a destination for exceptional dining and hospitality experiences.”

The Rutherford Hotel, Nelson.

The awards recognise the hospitality professionals, all of whom are making a positive impact on the local café and dining scene. The Restaurant Association of New Zealand and Hospitality New Zealand, along with the support of lead sponsor, Trents are proud to organise and foster these awards with the main purpose being to unite, grow and promote the Nelson hospitality industry.

Nelson Hospitality Awards 2023 Winners

Supreme Award – Individual

Steve Gardiner, Lone Star

Supreme Award – Establishment

Hardy St Eatery

Outstanding Small Accommodation Provider (1-25 Rooms):

Ah House Nelson City B & B


Bidfood Nelson

OneMusic Outstanding Ambience & Design

East Street

Outstanding Host Responsibility

East Street

Lumina Lamb Outstanding Chef

James Rutherford at Hardy St Eatery

Bidfood Outstanding Restaurant

Hopgoods and Co

Outstanding Large Accommodation Provider (25+ Rooms)

Kimi Ora Eco Resort

Outstanding Bartender

Nick Widley at Kismet Cocktail and Whiskey Bar

Outstanding Street Food/Ethnic Cuisine


Outstanding Accommodation Champion

Mike Walker at Prince Albert & Bridge Backpackers

Southern Hospitality Outstanding Bar


Outstanding Front of House Champion

Yasuko Abe at The Styx

The Breeze People’s Choice Award

The Styx

Outstanding Sustainability

Toad Hall

Outstanding Barista

Nick Schryvers at Victus Coffee & Eatery

Outstanding Café

Victus Coffee & Eatery