Curating their Taste of Auckland menu to the tastebuds of their celebrated customers, Miss Clawdy triumphantly returns to the festival it found so many delightful new friends at in 2015. With a driving concept to “turn the music up, and bring the lights down,” there’s a unique groove to the restaurant which found its inspiration in “food from Southern and Central America – mainly New Orleans, which is known for being a bit of a party town.” Fried chicken, key lime pie, and coconut citrus ceviche… You won’t want to miss this.
We caught up with Jeff Wiley, one of the two brothers behind the impossibly brilliant concept to bring people together over finger lickin’ good food. Launching nearly three years ago, Tom and Jeff focused on creating wholesome slow food in an inviting, warm and fun environment.
It’s the fun that they pin some of their run-away success to – something they encourage not just for Miss Clawdy’s clientele, but for their bold and hilarious wait staff. The secret, according to Jeff, is that they simply “employ people who love what they do,” which jovially rubs off in every interaction, whether it be on the phone or delivering a sumptuous plate of fried chicken to a table.
It’s one of the many reasons that “people come to Miss Clawdy to celebrate things,” the result of a trademark “fast paced and fun atmosphere” that’s seen the restaurant remain relevant and fresh in the hearts and minds of Aucklanders in the midst of a rapidly evolving hospitality scene. With a new restaurant opening almost every week, Jeff sees the growing ‘competition’ as, “Exciting. There’s many pretty amazing restaurants out there now. It just keeps us on our toes, always striving to do better, be better, and be innovative.”
Despite a tenacity for creating crowd-pleasing restaurants out of thin air (they’ve just opened their next smash-hit, Kindred) and being born of a heritage of stunning restaurants (Jeff and Tom’s parents are Belinda and Dennis Wiley, behind Shorebird, Hammerheads, Sausalito, Mink Cafe, Vivo and Squid Row), there was, “never a grand plan. It’s taking it a day at a time, looking for the right opportunities. We always knew we wanted to open a restaurant in Wynyard Quarter.”
Their casual, customer-centric approach with a focus on building relationships over generous servings of hearty food has created a unique loyalty in Miss Clawdy’s patrons. As one of the ten Official Restaurants of Taste of Auckland in partnership with Electrolux for the second year running, you can expect the fresh and exciting atmosphere, stunning Southern American fare, and “some fun out in the sun.” Remarking on the incredible experience in 2015, Jeff recalls “it was awesome. It was fun interacting with those who loved Miss Clawdy, and those who’d never heard of us before. All of our staff are really looking forward to it again.”