Queenstown hotdog shop donating part of profits

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A new gourmet hotdog shop in Queenstown is donating five per cent of profits to a struggling West Coast town.

Blackballs opened down The Mall yesterday morning, with unique sausage and sauce recipes created by award-winning UK chef Mark Gregory, a veteran of the London culinary scene.

The new Blackballs brand and restaurant – employing 20 and open 10am-5am – is the brainchild of Gregory and Queenstown trio Vicki Onions, Mike Burgess and Kevin Ramsey.

“It taps into a Kiwi tradition – the sausage sizzle,” Onions says.

“But we decided we wanted to make really great sausages, so we got Mark involved to design a range exclusively for us. He designed all the sausage flavours and then the concepts.”

The exclusive 30cm sausages are made by the Blackball Salami Company in the West Coast town, with five per cent of profits donated to the town.

Onions, who also runs nearby Cookie Time shop, says: “Blackball was once a thriving mining town but there are no jobs any more and when we first visited a year ago we realised it needed some love.

“The fund will be administered by the company – they have a board which will use it to rejuvenate the town

“Hopefully we’ll create jobs there by being busy and having more than one outlet,” Onions says.

The group plans to franchise the restaurant.

Burgess, who also owns a bunch of downtown bars including popular Winnies and Ballarat, says: “We hope this Blackballs will be the first of many.”

The 12-sausage menu includes prime New Zealand beef with sticky onions and Blackballs tomato sauce; lamb, roast onion and honey sausage with mushy peas, crispy onions and mint jelly; and pork chorizo sausage with red pepper, sticky onions, mustard mayo and Blackballs BBQ sauce.