Nourish Waikato Spring 2016

Page 15

WORDS Vicki Ravlich-Horan | PHOTOGRAPHY Holly Marie Russell

Six months ago The Village in Whatawhata opened. The heart of this hub in Whatawhata, which also includes the Farm Shop and Village Boutique, is the Village Cafe. This is also where you are most likely to find the woman responsible for The Village. Genevieve Rorke moved to Whatawhata four years ago and says she loves the people in the area. With previous hospitality experience, from pubs to fine dining, a cafe seemed the natural space for Genevieve to place her energy. “My vision for the village,” Genevieve explains, “was to provide somewhere for the community to meet and enjoy. It's a fantastic community which is growing rapidly, and I love seeing people meeting up, getting to know each other, playing with their kids in the playground.” The Village Cafe has a very rural feel, which is apt considering it sits on the outskirts of Hamilton. Genevieve admits she “loves old and rustic”, and this is reflected in the warm and cosy interior with the handmade rugs, wooden cladding and eclectic furniture. Some friendly livestock call the neighbouring paddocks home and add to “MY STAFF ARE FANTASTIC AND I'M VERY PROUD OF EACH OF THEM WITH THE SERVICE THEY PROVIDE.” GENEVIEVE ROURKE, THE VILLAGE CAFE the list of family friendly attractions the Village Cafe boast. Set on a large plot, there is plenty of space for the kids to run around, not to mention the huge playground to explore. “People say that it's a really lovely atmosphere at the cafe. I want to make it a destination for families to relax, have some fun and enjoy good food,” says Genevieve who, although with her hands full running the busy cafe, has more plans for The Village. “We've got plans into council for a bigger covered outdoor area, and I want to build a party area as we get lots of bookings for parties. There will also be more retail space going in in the future to include more shops.” In the meantime, head chef Donna Friend is working on a new menu to add to the already bursting array of cabinet food available. The kids are well catered for too with an extensive children’s menu. The team also offer packed school lunches for those busy parents who want to ensure the kids get a wholesome homemade lunch. It is these sorts of innovations and personal touches that have quickly solidified The Village Cafe as the hub and heart of Whatawhata. The Village Cafe 1 Rothwell Lane, Whatawhata Open Mon–Fri 7am–4pm | Sat & Sun 8.30am–4pm