Makeover for Hāwea restaurant

Before and after at Sailz restaurant; now called Hāwea Store & Kitchen.

Gone are the 90s rust-red walls and tired timber tables — Sailz Restaurant, now newly christened as Hāwea Store & Kitchen has had a makeover and is now open for business. 

Owners, Hamish and Erica MacKay have brought the town’s only restaurant upto 2019 aesthetics whilst retaining its rustic, small-town charm. 

The couple purchased the business in 2017, then spent the next two years getting to know the community and suppliers. They quickly realised it was more than a grocer, restaurant, bar, post office and information centre. It was the hub of Hāwea, where bump-ins went on for hours and family and community events were celebrated.

“We have built bench seat along one of the walls, from recycled timber from Christchurch,” said MacKay. “The squabs and cushions were made by Wānaka Upholstery which is a guy here in Hāwea; we tiled above the fireplace; took all the shelving back and sanded it all and oiled. The door is new, and there’s a new wine rack wall.”

All the workmanship and design was all done by local people. 

“Our kitchen’s philosophy is one of honesty and pride, as we show off our region’s many talents. Not just the fruits of our labour, but the land the produce is grown from, the farmers who tend it and the chefs from all corners who prepare the food we offer, dishing up a world of culture and flavour.” 

“The menu has been evolving so it’s not a drastic change from the food we have been doing, but there is a seasonal change, and we’ve developed it so there are a few more items people can share, or bigger plates that tables can have together, plus the staples the locals love.” 

Hāwea Store & Kitchen is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. 


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