If you call into Bratwurst Bros this summer while cruising State Highway 3 around Mt Messenger, you better not dare order a hotdog. It’s an insult to the German sausage.

Bratwurst Bros is based in Uriti, Taranaki, or as owners Nathalie Van Dort and Patrick Lachmann call it, the middle of nowhere.

Uruti sits roughly 45 kilometres north of New Plymouth and the 2018 census put the population at 864, but the vast majority of those people live on farms and there is no centralised settlement to speak of.

The last thing you’d expect to find there is a food cart serving traditional German food.

But that’s what they offer seven days a week at Bratwurst Bros. By no means do they serve hot dogs.

“A guy came up and said ‘Can I have a small hot dog?’ and I said that’s two mistakes right there, we don’t call them small because he’s got feelings too, he’s regular-sized, and then he said ‘Can I please have a regular bratwurst’,” Van Dort, originally from Holland, says.

“Most people you can have a lot of fun with.”

They’ve even got a sign to warn customers as they enter – ‘Don’t call me hotdog’.

There’s also a sign proclaiming one of their sausages is probably the best you’ll ever have.

Lachmann, who has a master’s degree in cheffing, produces all their food himself in the butchery beside the shop.

He owned seven restaurants in Germany before selling up and travelling, and has been operating Bratwurst Bros, which he started as a mobile barbecue, in Taranaki since 2015.

The idea of setting up the rest stop was five years in the making and saw them invest $250,000.

He’s always finding ways to improve his recipes, and says everything on the menu goes equally well.

Currywurst is one of their popular traditional dishes. It consists of sausage cut into chunks and seasoned with curry ketchup, topped with curry powder and served with chips or bread.

Lachmann said you could get currywurst on every corner in Germany, and it was the go-to meal at the end of a night out.

“A currywurst is a great hangover preventer.”

He says Kiwis are very experimental and always willing to try something new – but every once in a while, they’ll get someone ask for a pie or to modify something.

“We get people asking for cheese or onions on the bratwurst and I say no, the complete German pride comes through and I can’t allow it.

“It’s all about the sausage. In Germany, you just get a piece of cardboard to hold the bratwurst.”

Their location on State Highway 3 is a constant hum of traffic with heavy-load trucks and tourists on road trips zooming past.

They’ve got parking big enough for an 18-wheeler as well as toilet facilities.

Just up the road from Bratwurst Bros, the Mt Messenger Bypass project is taking place, so the workers are some of their regular customers.

They are open from 7am to 3pm and sometimes there are people at the gate waiting.

“The bacon and egg roll is a favourite amongst the road workers,” Lachmann says.

The pair say there has definitely been an increase in traffic over the holiday and summer season.

They’ve noticed a huge influx of international travellers coming back, too, especially French and German.

“It’s like they can smell the food,” Van Dort laughs.

They also get a lot of people visiting from afar just for a day trip; the other day there was a group of motorcyclists who came from Hamilton.

“This guy posted to his motorbike group and said ‘who wants to go for a currywurst in Uriti’,” Van Dort recalls.

As well as selling food on the go, they sell sausages, bacon, and smoked cheese to take away, which the couple also travel around the country selling at markets.

They’ve now got staff including one full-timer and two part-timers.

Before having employees, Patrick would be up at 2am producing.

They’ve been open for nearly two years and say it’s gone much better than they expected.

“It’s always a risk when you open something up, especially in the middle of nowhere.”

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