Locals caring for locals and tourists alike
The Black Rabbit offers genuine kiwi tucker and Southern hospitality at its very best. With relaxed, informal dining in a family friendly (pet’s also welcome) atmosphere.
The story of the Black Rabbit
In a farming community in Central Otago, not unsimilar to Bannockburn, with a hot dry climate and rocky tors, on a hill riddled with rabbits, lives Katie’s grandma, Nanny. When Nanny wakes up every morning, there is one black rabbit that sits on her front lawn. When Katie and Jimmy go to visit, Jimmy’s job is to help eradicate the rabbits, which devastate Nanny’s garden. Every time Jimmy sneaks around Nanny’s property he sees the elusive black rabbit, but has never been able to catch him. The black rabbit still sits upon Nanny’s garden, just as Black Rabbit Kitchen & Bar sits among the community of Bannockburn.
Bannockburn offers a peaceful atmosphere, where you are free to unwind and to experience an oasis of vineyards, heritage sites, working artists and galleries, along with fantastic vistas. With warm, dry summers, and sunny, crisp winters, this truly is a destination for all seasons.
Matt – Chef/Owner
Matthew trained to be a professional chef at Cromwell Polytechnic before working in the busy resort town of Queenstown. He spent seven years in Queensland, Australia where he worked in fine dining on Hayman Island before experiencing the “outback” in Western Australia at the El Questro Resort. He then spent four years as Head Chef in a successful restaurant in Perth before returning to Queenstown with his daughter in 2016. Matthew has a passion for all things food and enjoys using the abundant fresh produce that is available in the Otago region.
Jimmy – Chef/Owner
Your typical southland bloke, Jimmy was born and bred in Invercargill, Southland “where the best food comes from”. Jimmy’s passion for food started when he was a competitive National cyclist, looking for fresh heathy nutrition to fuel his body for racing. This led to his career in hospitality. He opened a café in the Catlins, where the locals flocked for Jimmy’s homemade meals and the tourists stopped in on their holidays for genuine kiwi tucker. He wanted to take this further, so purchased his food truck, where he could take the produce straight from the land and sea in the area and cook it for people at all sorts of regional events. Jimmy has always caught his own whitebait – a kiwi delicacy and has became famous for his Seafood Chowder. He shacked up with Katie and saw an opportunity in the fast growing Central Otago area; a place where he can still source his fresh fish daily, even though Bannockburn is the furthest away town from the sea. You can find Jimmy down on the Mataura river between August and November catching the whitebait for the Black Rabbit.
Katie – Owner/Front of House
The face you see and the voice you hear (you probably hear her first), Katie has been in the hospitality industry for 10 years. From an 18 year old fresh out of school, she worked in a restaurant in Queenstown, quickly making her way up to manager, she managed the restaurant on and off for four years while fitting some extensive travelling in between. At the age of 22 Katie packed up from Queenstown and moved to Nelson with only a key to her first restaurant. She painted and renovated and persisted through the chequered history of the previous restaurants in the building to gain the support of the locals and created a busy, successful, business. After 3 ½ years of hard graft she moved back down to Central Otago, which is where she met Jimmy, the perfect match. With the desire to do it all again, but in beautiful Central Otago, where Katie’s roots are from; together, living in a bus at the café with their two dogs, painting and renovating, they created the Black Rabbit. Katie loves meeting new people and creating a local establishment where she knows your name and the kind of coffee you like.
The Black Rabbit Crew
Our crew are friendly, bubbly and smiley, with great personalities – this is a must as criteria for employment at the Black Rabbit.