top of page

A slice of Italy in Taupō

Although COVID travel restrictions mean that Italy is currently off the holiday destination list

for most, not to worry. You can still enjoy your favourite vino while tucking into a traditional

Italian pizza right in the heart of Taupō.

Taupō local Sandy Hallett and the team at the newly opened Sorrento offer a traditional

Italian dining experience in Tuwharetoa St. Previously known as Osteria, the restaurant

menu includes a range of pizza, pasta, and main dishes with an focus on quality service.

Like many local hospitality businesses, Sorrento has been significantly impacted by the

lower visitor numbers to the Taupō region. “I took over the business just a few months

before COVID hit. Since then business has dropped, and we have to work harder on

marketing to get people through the door” says Sandy.

Due to delays caused by the pandemic, international deliveries of Italian wine have become

problematic. “As a result, we’ve expanded our local specialty wine list. It’s been a great

opportunity to support New Zealand suppliers, including some tasty drops from the Hawkes

Bay area” says Sandy.

Working with her team has helped Sandy find answers to business challenges, including

changing staff rosters, opening for lunch and adapting menus. “Our staff are the best part of

our business. Our head chef Matt is has been in the business for over 20 years, and our front

of house manager Geoffroy is Michelin star trained. We’re like a family and we’re all really

close. I’m quite open about our situation and make sure the team know what’s going on.

We sit down together to come up with solutions that will work for everyone” says Sandy.

Sandy has also had support from the team at Amplify, who helped source funding from the

Regional Business Partner Network for marketing costs. “We’re delighted to have launched

a new website, and we engage much more with our customers on social media. It’s a big

part of the restaurant scene now” she says.

Taupō’s business community has also been an important source of knowledge and referrals.

“We’re all in this together and are facing similar challenges, so it’s good to get together and

share ideas. We really appreciate it when businesses refer people to us, and we do the same

for them” says Sandy.

For more information about grants and business support contact rick at


bottom of page