Manawatu Guardian - 2021-11-25


In the small rural settlement of Halcombe, a passion for cars and coffee collides.


The Rusty Radiator Diner opened in March this year, serving classic diner meals with a Kiwi twist. It was a long time coming for owner/operator Tracey Langerveld, who was leasing the building for two years before opening the doors for business. “I fell in love with the idea of doing an old-school diner with what I had. I just wanted to be certain that whatever we did, we were happy with.” Carved out of a former garage, Langerveld felt it was important to keep the identity of the building tied in with classic vehicles. “The building had potential for character and we just got to work.” Inside the diner is a collection of vehicle-inspired memorabilia that Langerveld has collected over the last two decades, including hundreds of model vehicles, an old gas pump and radiators. “It’s just stuff we have had over the years of being a petrol head.” The devil is in the detail for Langerveld, who wanted everyone who walked in to feel that same sense of passion she feels about vehicles. “I’ve always been a petrol head. We’ve had hot rods and I’ve always been that way. We’ve tried to put our personality into it.” Whilst a lot of effort has gone into the presentation of the diner, serving customers was always the most important task. “For me, the customer service is key. I enjoy that side, meeting people and talking where they come from and what they’ve done.” Serving fresh, affordable, quality food with a diner experience was just as important. With kiwi classics such as fish and chips, scotch fillet, bacon and eggs and an assortment of burgers, there is something for the whole family. “Our fish and chips are Chatham Island Blue Cod. We don’t use crap. All our burgers are handmade, everything is homemade. That’s the key difference.”


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