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“With Mavericks, we’ve made sure the fun on our doorstep follows people indoors,” sales and marketing manager Louisa Redward says.
“If you’re in any doubt about that, just look up at the ceiling where we’ve suspended a replica WWII US Navy spotter plane. That plane actually flew down here from Tauranga and had to be decommissioned before we hung it.”
Diners can expect an extensive, eclectic, something-for-everyone menu – think steak, seafood and Mexican and Kiwiana classics – and the kind of attentive service owner-developer Jamie Keehan relished while living in the United States. Jamie’s fondness for American eateries is evident in the scale and ambiance of the décor, which includes a grand floor-to-ceiling rock fireplace façade, big neon lights and booth seating.
“You’ll see it in the smaller details, too. Like the quirky shaped plates and iridescent wine glasses or the beautiful leather armchairs and all the wood and stainless steel. Or the cheeky cocktail names. This is a place to come and enjoy good food and service, to grab a drink at the bar, catch up with your mates. You know you’re going to be extremely well looked after – our staff training programme is very extensive – but it’s certainly not snooty.”
Louisa says this is exactly what conference organisers are seeking. “We know that because I was taking bookings even before we opened. Taupō was crying out for a venue like this.”
Upstairs from the restaurant and bar, a purpose-built conference facility includes a satellite kitchen and bar as well as multi-purpose space to accommodate a gala dinner or break-out rooms with all the audio visual trimmings. The entire complex is bookable, including a casual restaurant in the Drop Zone entertainment area, offering pizzas, burgers and fried chicken. However, the Mavericks kitchen can cater for anything; from simple morning and afternoon teas to elaborate a la carte or buffet lunches and dinners, as well as canapes or a dessert bar. The town centre is just 10 minutes’ drive and a full range of accommodation, including resort-style hotel to motel options, are even closer. Mavericks can also provide a dedicated airport shuttle service.
Having spent the last 15 years working in hospitality in and around Taupō, Louisa has extensive experience organising personalised conferences, weddings and other events. She has owned and operated restaurants and a food truck and formed excellent personal relationships with other operators in the region.
“Why did I come here? Because it’s paradise. I don’t know why anyone would want to live anywhere else and it’s certainly the perfect place to bring conference delegates. We’re easy to get to, just off the main highway. And, for anyone wanting multi-day options once they’d done the mini golf and the virtual race car driving on site, we have so many great outdoor experiences here year round. How can you beat a still winter’s morning on the ski hill or fishing on the river? Or summer sailing or jet boating, mountain biking or horse riding?”
Louisa says Mavericks is a deeply personal project for her boss, a property developer and entrepreneur who is unafraid to forge his own path.
“It was Jamie’s idea to have that aviation theme, given we’re so close to the airport. He named it and it was his idea to put the giant Top Gun movie poster in one corner, which is where people like to have their photos taken.
“But this isn’t a Top Gun restaurant, despite the name of the lead character. He actually came up with the name well before the movie was announced because mavericks are visionaries and innovators and risk-takers who like to shake things up and that’s Jamie to a tee. And it’s what we like to do at Mavericks.”
If there’s one thing Taupō does best, it’s combining business with pleasure. Step outside of your comfort zone with a thrilling jetboat ride to get the blood-pumping before your next hosted event or get inspired from a conference room that overlooks crystal-clear lake waters.