The classic colonial building at 19 Bow St is one of the oldest in downtown Raglan. Built in 1898, it had been home to a varied succession of businesses before becoming a café 14 years ago, serving as a general store, haberdashery, the town’s barbershop and in later years as Raglan Mowers and Cycles.
In ’96 Lisa and AD were looking to relocate Raglan Laundrette, 19 Bow St was for sale – and the Tongue and Groove was born out of a desire to have ‘somewhere to hang’… So began Raglan’s first café, complete with live gigs, Ten Guitars Night, Band Wars and a surf culture — the place rocked.
Through its incarnation as the T&G, the eclectic décor and red and blue colour scheme remained unchanged from the original design. The surfboard tables, bold gold signage and other features were all made in the shed by AD. It was a community effort, with theatre seats plus retro tables and chairs found at the then Raglan Dealers, thanks to plenty of help from friends.
This was the beginning of a genuine coffee culture in town, and T&G set the standard. It was also when offerings such as nasi goreng, roti and delicious homemade chutney appeared on the menu, most of which have remained over the years.
Three years on, the late nights and hard work took their toll on Lisa, AD and their growing boys, and the business was sold. The enterprising pair put the experience gained to use in Hamilton, establishing a weekday café in the north end of the CBD where there was a chronic lack of good coffee.
Ten years on and Machina is an icon and espresso institution. While keeping Machina humming they also opened, ran and then sold Dora’s, a great little city coffee joint named in homage to legendary surf rebel ‘Da Cat’.
Always up for something new, Lisa and AD took the reins at T&G again in November 2009, bringing in a fresh look and opening the doors in December as The Shack, ending an era.
Drawing again on surf stoke, The Shack takes its cue from a renowned surfers’ rest at Whale Bay. The original ‘shack’ was a charmingly ramshackle abode owned by Professors Jim and Jane Ritchie, who generously allowed it to be used freely by numerous surfers and lifestyle cruisers from the 60’s to the late 80’s. The infamous hangout comprised a communal one-room living and eating area and two cosy sleepouts.
Tucked away behind a toe toe hedge, the property also featured towering macrocarpas, under which you could sit and watch the waves roll through at famed point break Indicators. Shack residents were also treated to frequent visits by neighbour Sam Kereopa and his dog, out to ensure due respect for Sam’s domain was observed by all.
Inspired by this carefree way of life which is the essence of Raglan, The Shack offers relaxed table service in a café environment of simple setting.
After a busy summer, Lisa and AD feel it’s now time for a menu change and to bring to the table some of the ideas they’ve had simmering. They aim to increase their menu options, offering gluten free, dairy free plus organic and vegan choices, while continuing to serve staple hearty dishes such as roti, burgers and curry.