a decent conversation with Joe's Garage.
Who knew that a converted old Post Office sorting room in downtown Queenstown would become the beginning of a 20-site nationwide cafe and restaurant business?
23 years on, Joe’s Garage has grown to become an established local, known for its laidback vibes, friendly service, and its simple yet comforting approach to food.
Whether you're seeking a leisurely breakfast, a hearty lunch, or a cosy spot to relax with a cup of coffee all day - go and see Joe!
Hey Katie, thanks for chatting with us. Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and what your role is at Joe’s Garage?
I’m Head of Operations & Development at Joe’s, a long time hospo-proud worker and a born and raised petrol head so when the Joe’s opportunity popped up, it felt so right! I’ve been in hospitality for almost 30 years and my role at Joe’s really taps into the diversity of hospo life – multi-site management, menu and recipe development, quality control and shooting for operational excellence at all Joe’s.
What’s your go-to coffee order?
I’m a flat white pretty consistently when I’m out. At home, I’m a big fan of the clean flavour from my Mocca Master drip.
Can you please tell us about Joe’s Garage and how it started?
Joe’s Garage started in Queenstown in 2000 in the old sorting room in the Post Office building. In the early days, it was a word-of-mouth spot with no signage and just a spanner door handle as a sign for those in the know. It was about no pretension, good honest Kiwi hospitality and that remains the core focus of who we are today.
You’ll still find a spanner on every door and a proper welcome on the inside.
How would you describe Joe’s Garage?
What I love the most about Joe’s Garage is that no one is too good, and no one is not good enough. We are for everyone. So, when you come to a Joe’s, it’s comfortable and fun, relaxed and genuine – great tunes, great food, great drinks and outstanding coffee. Each Joe’s has its own unique twist – for example, our Joe’s Garage Berryfields is a bit of a shrine to the famous Kiwi Formula One driver, Denny Hulme, who was born down the road. Our Five Mile Joe’s in Frankton has one of the old original Queenstown gondolas in situ. It’s just a fun place to be when you’re in a Joe’s.
Can you run us through what you think makes Joe’s menu so special and what item you would recommend?
There is literally something for everyone, that’s what makes the menu great. And the kids menu is perfection (say my kids). Whether you want a warm bacon roll, or a big piece of crispy schnitzel, a bangin’ burger, a classic salad, something nostalgic like pikelets with jam & cream or simply bacon & eggs, Joe’s has it. Because we service from the morning through to the evening, we move across multiple menus throughout the day.
We are probably most famous for our chips which are crazy good – we make our own in-house seasoning and it’s sensational, served with our signature gravy.
My absolute fave on the current menu is our beef burger – beautiful soft Volare buns, 100% NZ beef pattie with nothing but a touch of seasoning, cheese, bacon, pickles, iceberg, our ridiculously delicious housemade Rocket sauce and our seeded mustard mayo. Dreamy.
We love to see that you use another one of our amazing customers Ozone. How did this partnering come about?
Ozone and Joe’s have been best buds for more than a decade now. The decision was really about Ozone’s approach to life – great quality, kiwi owned and operated, farm to cup sourcing and Fair Trade upfront.
Ozone developed the Joe’s Garage own roast with beans from Colombia, Guatemala, Ethiopia and Brasil – it’s incredibly smooth and rich, and addictive.
All of our owners visit the New Plymouth roastery to learn about our coffee journey, and why we love the taste of a cup of Joe’s own roast.
How many Joe’s Garages are there now and where in NZ are they?
We are just about to open number 20! This next Joe’s will be our eighth Canterbury location along with two in Auckland, a Joe’s New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Wellington, Tasman, Queenstown and Dunedin. All kiwi owned and operated.
What made Joe’s choose to use decent packaging and their sustainable packaging?
It’s a no brainer really, it’s the only packaging company in New Zealand that doesn’t use plastics – even with alternative recyclable/biodegradable brands, you’re still using a Company that produces plastics, and most likely offsets their green brand costs with margin from plastic production. Plus, we get to play with Missy, our account manager who is an absolute Qween, and we can put our bespoke design on anything. Our Joe’s Big Boy printed milkshake cups are very funky!
Mental health is important to us here at decent. How do you choose to relax and reset on your days off?
I’m a real homebody on my days off; fire up a big pot of coffee, have some eggs on toast slathered in tabasco sauce then snuggle up with my littles on the couch for a silly movie. Or invite friends over for some great wine, food and craic.
Thank you so much for chatting with us Katie. We can't we wait to go see Joe again soon.