Friendly Service in Taupo

Some times it is the simple things which cause the fondest memories of a holiday. Superb vistas, magnificent buildings, great adventures are great, but more often than not it is the human interactions you have with people you meet on your travels which leave the finest impressions of a particular place.

Case in point is Taupo, a town on the shores of Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake and a place of immense beauty. I’ve always loved Taupo because of an experience that I had on my first visit to the town many decades ago. Back then I arrived in town after dark in teeming rain, and as I was riding a motor bike at the time, I do vividly recall the horrible conditions. I booked a room for the night, and was entertained by some locals at the pub. Not knowing much about Taupo, I awoke to possibly the best view I have ever seen.

On my most recent visit to Taupo, I knew all about the magnificent lake and its backdrop of snow-covered mountains, including the volcanoes Mt Ruapehu and Mt Tongariro, which erupted one day after my visit, so none of that was a surprise, but a welcome reminder about how much I had missed the town during my absence.

This time, one of the highlights of my visit was dining at the cafe Friends. A place that is so aptly named simply because of the conviviality of the staff.

The food was good and fairly priced. Basic fare that was not extraordinary, overwhelmingly delicious or , a meal to remember. In fact it was probably no better or worse than food I could have bought in any establishment in Taupo. The true joy of dining at Friends was listening to, and joining in on, the constant patter of the guy who looked after front of house.

He had it all: Civility, friendliness, helpfulness and a pleasant demeanor. More than that, he had a way of greeting people that was very welcoming and the ability to make a comment, crack a joke, or read patrons thoughts to determine their likes and dislikes.

He spoke to all of his patrons in a jocular manner, cracking jokes, making humorous asides, offering suggestions, asking pertinent and impertinent questions in a tone that was impossible to offend whilst busily performing his core functions.

This guy’s presence and his quick but gentle wit turned an otherwise ordinary meal into a pleasant and very enjoyable experience, and I’ll bet that he is responsible, in a town which attracts a lot of tourist trade, where there is much competition from restaurants to make a dollar, for much of the restaurant’s return business.

If you are ever in Taupo, get along to Friends for an ordinary meal but an entertaining experience.p

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