The toasted sandwich – a treasured staple in every Kiwi household – is getting an upgrade this winter, with 50 eateries putting their unique spin on the classic snack for The Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover.

Now in its second year, this popular celebration of the toasted sandwich has introduced a competitive element for 2019, with participating eateries being judged on their creations in the quest to find the country’s tastiest toastie.

And with establishments right around Aotearoa entering the Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover this year, toasted sandwich connoisseurs are in for a real treat.

Whether it’s the grass-fed, house-smoked pastrami, melted cheese and pickle toastie from Auckland’s Fort Greene, a smoked kahawai, creamy mustard béchamel, vintage Meyer cheese and pickle sandwich from Hamilton’s Hayes Common, a Pulled lamb shoulder & Havarti cheese Toastie from Joe’s Garage Riccarton or a slow-roasted aromatic duck with pickles and sour cherry creation from Vines Village Café in Marlborough, there’s something to tickle everyone’s tastebuds from now until August 31.

The judging of these toastie creations will be split between six regions with two eateries from each area going through to the final. Judging began on June 22 with the finalists announced on August 1.

Joe McClure from McClure’s Pickles in Detroit will then travel to New Zealand in August to sample the finalists’ creations for himself and bestow one of them with the coveted title of Best New Zealand Toastie.

McClure says he’s looking forward to tasting the best of the nation’s toasted sandwiches.

“I love New Zealand and can’t think of a better opportunity to see more of it than by travelling around your beautiful countryside, eating the best toasties on offer,” he says. “We’re so stoked Kiwis love our pickles, so it will be an honour to judge the 12 finalists.”

But before McClure begins his own taste testing, the sandwiches will need to get past head judge Kerry Tyack and his team of 19 judges first.

They will be sampling the entries over the course of a month and ensuring they meet the following competition guidelines: each toastie must be sandwiched between two slices of bread and be able to be eaten by hand if necessary. The toasties must also contain cheese,  pickles from McClure’s delicious range, with all other sandwich elements left up to the participating cafes’ imagination.

Each toastie will be scored on a set criteria, including presentation, effectiveness of preparation technique, eatability, taste, innovation and originality.

All finalists will receive a case of McClure’s pickles, while the supreme winner announced on Monday, August 26 will also walk away with a year’s worth of pickles and the inaugural gold plated toastie trophy – and bragging rights to the best toasted sandwich in the country.

The participating eateries are listed by region below. For more information about the Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover, check out and for more about McClure’s Pickles, see #toastietakeover.


  • Al’s Deli (Central)
  • Dr Rudi’s Rooftop Brewing Co.(Viaduct)
  • Fantail & Turtle (Smale’s Farm, Takapuna)
  • Federal Delicatessen (Central)
  • Fort Greene (K Road)
  • Foxtrot Parlour (Ponsonby)
  • Good George Craft House (Mission Bay)
  • Hero Sandwich House (Eden Terrace)
  • Jack Tar (Wynyard Quarter)
  • Jo Bros Burgers (Food Truck)
  • Johnny Barr’s American Restaurant (Wynyard Quarter)
  • Longshot (Ponsonby)
  • Love Bucket (K Road)
  • Lowbrow (Central)
  • Luncheonette by Culprit (Central)
  • Mission Eatery (Mission Bay)
  • Queen’s Head Bar and Eatery (Marriott Hotel, Central)
  • Sweat Shop Brew Kitchen (Freeman’s Bay)
  • The Apothecary (Howick)
  • The Butcher’s Shop Cafe (Patumahoe)
  • The Grange (Smale’s Farm, Takapuna)
  • The RIverhead (Riverhead)
  • Vevo Foodstore (Titirangi)
  • Vondel (Devonport)

Hamilton / Waikato / BOP

  • Capers Epicurean Café (Rotorua)
  • Fire at the Mount (Mount Maunganui)
  • Hayes Common (Hamilton)
  • RYE (Tauranga)
  • The General (Mount Maunganui)

Central North Island

  • Albion Canteen (Napier)
  • Replete Cafe & Store (Taupo)
  • The Federal Store (New Plymouth)
  • Vagabond Jacks (Food Truck)


  • Baker Gramercy (Wellington)
  • Goods manufactory and café (Wellington)
  • Park Kitchen (Wellington)
  • Ten O’Clock Cookie Bakery Café (Masterton)


  • City Social (Christchurch CBD)
  • Joe’s Garage (Central)
  • Joe’s Garage (Cranford Street)
  • Joe’s Garage (Riccarton)
  • Otto Delicatessen, The Yard (Central)
  • Pomeroys Pub (Central)
  • PRET (Sockburn)
  • Southside Social (Sydenham)
  • Terra Viva (Burnside)

Rest of South Island

  • Beach House Cafe (Kaikoura)
  • Five Stags Cromwell (Cromwell)
  • The Hokitika Sandwich Company (Hokitika)
  • Vines Village Cafe (Blenheim)

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