The inaugural Longest Dinner in Orewa on Saturday March 9 looks like being a sellout.
Three of the 10 restaurants were completed booked within two days of publicity being released late last year, including Cheek & Chong, which had not opened its doors at that stage.
The event is being organised by Destination Orewa Beach to showcase the town’s dining options and its alfresco/beach culture.
Manager/secretary Hellen Wilkins says the dinner will cater for 440 diners across 10 restaurants.
“It’s a manageable teaser so we can troubleshoot and refine the format if needed, to be bigger and better next year,” Hellen says.
“Covering the entire road length from Moenui to Florence Avenues next year would be a good target to aim for and then we can add more restaurants into the mix. We like challenges!”
The event comprises one long table running from Shoreward to the Florence Avenue roundabout. The table will be set with blocks of 44 seats from each restaurant. Three courses will be served – the first will be a collaboration of platters from all 10 restaurants so guests get a sample a range of food styles.
Some restaurants will serve their mains ‘grazing style’ with platters of food down the table, while others will serve plated mains.
There will also be four bars set up in each corner of the event site, as well as bar leaners for those wanting to leave the table and stretch their legs.
Hellen says the biggest logistical challenge was the special licence for the road space.
The event is strictly R18 and the venue will be fully fenced.
Local band Tweed will provide the entertainment plus there will be an ‘element of surprise’ between the entree and the main course.
“We have had a bad run of weather with events over the past two years so we are hoping Mother Nature gives us a break for this one,” Hellen says. “If it is raining or too windy on the Saturday, the event will shift to the Sunday. If by chance we can’t use the Sunday either, the ticket will become a voucher for the restaurant booked – valid for three months after the event date.”
Hellen says the concept has been run successfully in Arrowtown for eight years and this is the model used to create the Orewa event.
“We’ve had long discussions with the Arrowtown organisers so we hope we have mitigated the issues they had, before our event takes place.”
There are only a few seats left across two or three restaurants – all menus, FAQs and event details are at beachnbitesorewa.co.nz Bookings should be made directly on that website.