April 12, 2022
Toastie sandwich

The Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover, the nation’s premier toasted sandwich contest, is back for a fifth year and ready to titillate taste buds right around the country.

The popular competition has been steadily gaining momentum, with last year’s contest attracting more than 120 entries and serving up an incredible 80,000 gourmet toasties. But those numbers have taken off for 2022, with 185 venues participating from Waitangi in the north to Lumsden in the south – an increase of 53% on last year.

This year’s entries are a mix of iconic eateries and local gems, made up of bars, restaurants, cafes, a boutique hotel, an iconic cinema, breweries, food trucks, hole-in-the-wall serveries, a winery and even an RSA. Other unique entrant locations include a bowling alley, salmon farm, destination cheese store, and the Bluebridge Cook Strait ferry. 

The competition rules remain the same as previous years. Each toastie must be sandwiched between two slices of bread and able to be eaten by hand if necessary. The toasted sandwich must also contain cheese (or an acceptable vegan substitute) and pickles from the McClure’s Pickles range. Everything else is up to the toastie maker’s imagination – and those imaginations have certainly been in overdrive this year.

2021 Winner / Mollies_Steve MacDougall & Mojo Pork Cuban with a Twist Credit_Sarah Hodgett

2021 Winner: Steve MacDougall from Mollies, Hotel D’Urville in Blenheim 

A wide array of ingredients can be found across the entries in 2022, including brisket, bacon hock, buttermilk chicken, beer-poached beef, lamb chops, and venison mince, while entrants have been equally adventurous with their toastie condiments – think homemade feijoa BBQ sauce, peanut butter, caramelised banana, confit beetroot, and the quintessential Kiwi onion dip.

The trend towards vegetarian or plant-based entrants also continues, with 15 vegetarian and six vegan entries, with ingredients like vegan black pudding, plant ‘pastrami’, and cauliflower and facon bits on the menu. A keto toasted sandwich entry has also made the cut this year.

With Easter and the school holidays looming, it’s the perfect time for Kiwis to hit the road and check out a few of the entries, with a list of the competing eateries and a description of their toasted sandwich creations available at

Last year’s Great NZ Toastie Takeover was won by Steve MacDougall from Mollies in Blenheim with his Mo Jo Pork Cuban with a Twist. With slow roasted pork belly, provolone, chimichurri, American mustard, McClure's Pickles, and apple chilli gel slathered between toasted sourdough and served with kumara crisps, the sandwich was a true standout for customers and the competition judges.

The People’s Choice Award, which was awarded to Toastie Picton last year, will also return in 2022, giving Kiwis the power to vote for their favourite participating eatery and toasted sandwich. More information on the People’s Choice Award can be found at the competition website.   

2020 Winner / Romeo Dowling Mitchell, Hungry Hobos Dunedin

2020 Winner: Romeo Dowling Mitchell from Hungry Hobos Dunedin

Judging begins tomorrow (Wednesday, April 13), with the 12 finalists from each of the six competition regions revealed on June 22. The supreme winner will be revealed on July 27. 

A group of approximately 30 judges overseen by head judge Kerry Tyack will be casting their eyes (and taste buds) over this year’s entries. Judging will be split into the following six regions: Auckland/Northland; Waikato/Bay of Plenty; Central North Island; Wellington/Lower North Island; Upper South Island (including Christchurch and West Coast); and Lower South Island.

Each toastie will be scored on a set criteria, including presentation, effectiveness of preparation technique, eatability, taste, innovation, and originality. The competition’s grand toastmaster and McClure’s Pickles founder, Detroit based Joe McClure, will then visit the finalists to sample the entries and liaise with Tyack to determine New Zealand’s top toastie for 2022.

2019 winner / Joseph Walker, Hokitika Sandwich Company

2019 Winner: Joseph Walker from the Hokitika Sandwich Company

McClure says he’s humbled by the number of entries, especially given the tough couple of years the hospitality industry has faced. 

“What an incredible list of entries - I’m blown away by the sheer number and the quality of the entrants, as well as the time that has gone into developing some innovative and incredible sounding toasted sandwiches. Covid-related restrictions permitting, I’m really looking forward to returning to one of my favourite countries to judge the top toasties in June.”

All Great NZ Toastie Takeover finalists will receive a case or pail of McClure’s Pickles and dine-in vouchers to give away to locals via social media. The People’s Choice winner will also receive a case of McClure’s pickles and dine-in vouchers.

The supreme winner will walk away with a year’s worth of pickles, more dine-in vouchers, a toastie trophy and, most importantly, bragging rights to the best toasted sandwich in the country.

For more information and the full list of participating venues by region, see Follow @cookandnelson on Instagram for regular competitions and updates.

A list of participating venues by region can be found below:


Archie Cafe, Ponsonby

Beaufort + Co, Oteha

Best Ugly Bagels, CBD x 2 (City Works Depo & Commercial Bay), Newmarket, Airport

Bird on a Wire, CBD (Commercial Bay Ponsonby, Takapuna, Orakei, Newmarket, Ormiston

Botany Commons, Botany Town Centre

Burgernaut, Kingsland

Cazador Deli, Mount Eden

Cheese on Toast, Three Kings & Birkenhead

Churly's Brewpub + Eatery, Mt Eden

Citizen Park, Kingsland

Crafty Baker, Titirangi

Dedwood Deli, Ponsonby

Drifter Coffee NZ, Orewa

Fat Belly Deli, Freemans Bay

Federal Delicatessen, CBD (Vege)

Goldie, Mt Eden (Vege)

Good Day, Orakei

Hash n Smash (Food Truck) (Vege)

Jo Bros, Titirangi & Point Chevalier

Kohi Beach Store, Kohimarama

Le Chef Kitchen (Wapiti Sports bar), Point Chevalier

Lowbrow, Karangahape Road

Moxie Restaurant, Birkenhead Point

ONE - Onehunga Neighbourhood Eatery

Peachs Hot Chicken, Panmure

Pilkingtons, CBD

Pins Cafe (Lincoln Pins), Henderson

Pizza Landing, Te Atatu Peninsula (Vege)

Rampant Coffee, New Lynn

Rosier Burgers, Glen Eden

Simple Cafe and Eatery, Albany

Something & Social, Westfield Newmarket

The Brewers Co-Operative, CBD

The Brit Pub & Eatery, CBD

The Cav, Freemans Bay

The Daily Goods, Pukekohe

The Farmhouse, Clevedon  (Vege)

The Fox, A London Pub, CBD

The Northcote Tavern, Northcote Point

Union Post, Ellerslie

Wild Wheat x 6

Wipeout Kitchen (Food Truck)

Wynyard Pavilion, CBD

Yakety Yak, Pukekohe



[email protected], Waitangi

Logan MacLean Café, Waipu (Vege)

Matakana Village Pub, Matakana

Puhoi Valley Cheese Cafe, Puhoi

Sawmill Brewery and Smoko Room, Matakana

Urban Remedy, Ruakaka



Bird on a Wire, Hamilton

Capers Cafe + Store, Rotorua

Eastwood Café, Rotorua

Folk Brewers, Tauranga

Irish Wawa Cafe, Tokoroa

Johnny's Tairua

Okere Falls, Rotorua

Plan Bee, Waihi

Smith & McKenzie, Hamilton

Texas Pete's BBQ Dinsdale, Hamilton

Texas Pete's BBQ Rototuna, Hamilton

The General Café, Mount Maunganui

The Nourished Eatery, Tauranga (Vegan)

The Orchard House, Katikati

The Public Office, Ngatea

The Redoubt Bar & Eatery, Morrinsville



#antsnacks the lunch bar, New Plymouth (Vege)

13th Stag, Hastings Sports Park

Best Burgers, Havelock North

Black Betty BBQ, Hastings

Carr's Kitchen, Hastings

Creel Tackle House and Café, Tūrangi

Deli @ Known Unknown, New Plymouth (Vege)

Fork and Noise, Hastings (Food Truck)

Porridge Watson, Whanganui

Replete Cafe & Store, Taupō

Serial Griller, Ōakura, Taranaki 

Sunshine Brewery, Awapuni, Gisborne 

That Sandwich Place, Napier

The Duke's Roadhouse, Mangaweka

The Storehouse, Taupō

Toastie Ohakune, Ohakune



Artisan at Bolton Hotel, Wellington

Baloosonbroadway Restaurant @ The Carterton Club (RSA), Carterton

Beach Babylon, Wellington

Beaver and Bear, Palmerston North

Bebemos, Wellington (Vege)

Best Ugly, Te Aro, Airport, Featherston Street

Bethel Woods, Wellington

Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferry

Brew Union, Palmerston North

Brew’d Island Bay, Wellington

Buzz Cafe Restaurant, Lower Hutt

Cable Top Eatery, Wellington

Cafe Polo, Miramar

Cutlers Entertainment, Lower Hutt (Vege)

Dillinger's, Wellington

Fidels café, Wellington

Fix & Fogg window, Wellington (Vege)

Fix Federation, Lower Hutt

Gelissimo @ Freyberg, Wellington (Vege)

goods manufactory, Wellington (Vege)

Gourmet Hi-way, Hunterville

Hangar Cafe, Wellington

Hotel Bristol, Wellington

Huxley's, Wellington

Korky's Catering (Food Truck)

Little Beer Quarter, Te Aro, Wellington

Macs Brewbar, Wellington CBD

Mockingbird, Te Aro, Wellington (Vegan)

Nolita, CBD, Wellington (Vegan)

One Fat Bird, Karori, Wellington

Park Kitchen, Mirimar, Wellington

Rollatoasta (Food Truck), Lower Hutt

Roxy Cinema, Miramar, Wellington

Seashore Cabaret, Petone, Lower Hutt

Sinbin Sports Bar, Lower Hutt

Staten Eatery, Te Aro, Wellington (Vege)

Sweet Release, Te Aro, Wellington (Vegan)

Ten O'clock Cookie Bakery Cafe, Masterton

The Arborist Rooftop Bar & Eatery, CBD, Wellington

The Borough, Tawa, Wellington

The Botanist, Lyall Bay, Wellington (Vegan)

The Clareville Bakery, Clareville

The Crab Shack, CBD, Wellington

The Crooked Elm, Lower Hutt

The Green Man Pub, CBD, Wellington

The Offering, Greytown

The Offering @ Moore Wilsons, Masterton

The Thistle Inn, Thorndon, Wellington

Twenty Eight, Lower Hutt

Whistling Sisters Beer Co, Te Aro, Wellington



Akaroa Butchery & Deli, Akaroa

Arden, Nelson

Bacon Bros, Christchurch

BEERS, Christchurch

Chocolate and Ginger (Food Truck), Blenheim

Empire Chicken, Christchurch

Grater Goods, Christchurch (Vegan)

Hangar Round Cafe, Motueka

Herb + Olive Cafe, Blenheim

Ilex Café, Christchurch

Kaikoura Beach House Café, Kaikōura

Little Nessie Cafe, Nelson

Monza Sports Bar Christchurch Casino, Christchurch

Shaka Bros, Christchurch

Street Food on Washington (Food Truck), Nelson

Sun Dog Diner, Christchurch (Vege)

Terra Viva Cafe, Christchurch

The Brewery, Christchurch

The Café Christchurch Casino, Christchurch

The Food Bus (Food Truck), Reefton

The Nourish Food Company, Christchurch

The Smoking Barrel, Motueka

Vines Café, Blenheim

Woodstock Hotel, Woodstock (West Coast)



Bespoke Kitchen, Queenstown

Cargo Gantley's Pub, Queenstown

High Country Salmon, Twizel

Hungry Hobos, Dunedin

Johnny Crema (Food Truck), Queenstown 

Love Chicken, Queenstown

Mikey's KAI (Food Truck), Dunedin

Morning Magpie, Dunedin (Vege)

PiqueNique Café, Timaru (Keto)

Roasted x Toasted, Lumsden

The Fine Lion, Ashburton

The Waipiata Country Hotel, Waipata

The Wanaka ‘Wich Project, Wanaka