Kitchen Tips

This Dunedin café is bringing healthy, wholesome food to student-ville

Nestled amongst the action of Dunedin's student quarter, Buster Greens is a café on a mission to spread their passion for fresh, healthy and wholesome food. In doing so, they've fast become a new local favourite.

By Harriet Keown
Nick and Kushla Dodds aren't very good at relaxing. After selling the popular café they'd owned for 14 years, what was meant to be a well-deserved break quickly turned into the opening of a new venture, Buster Greens, in Dunedin's student area – where they wanted to encourage a philosophy of clean and healthy eating through their food. As it turns out, the Scarfies are loving it, with the new eatery swiftly becoming the local go-to spot, especially for their incredible cabinet of raw slices.
We talk to Nick and Kushla about their vision for Buster Greens, where they find menu inspiration, and why they thought they still had more to give to Dunedin's foodie scene.

Q: Can you tell us the story behind Buster Greens?

After selling our busy cafe of 14 years we thought we would take a break, regroup and prioritise our family… but we got bored fairly quickly! We felt that we still had a lot more to give to the industry we have loved for so long, especially as the style of food we enjoyed and craved was not on offer in Dunedin to the standard we would have liked. We suspected others might feel the same, so we decided to create it ourselves.
We found a cool wee place, gutted it and started with a blank canvas. It was a really fun and exciting time making our vision become reality.

Q: How does your Dunedin location influence your business?

Prior to opening Buster Greens, we owned a restaurant at St Clair beach where we had a large community-based clientele, primarily tourists and, in the weekend, a lot of students. Our food always appealed to the social media savvy, so opening Buster Greens in the "student-ville" area of Dunedin was exciting as we were confident that our style of food would be appealing to this end of town. We have found that a lot of students are very health conscious and are really educated when it comes to food, wellbeing and exercise.

Q: Where do you find inspiration for the dishes on your menu?

We are inspired by so many different things in life. We completely live and breathe food, and love to experiment with flavours and textures - every plate is a work of art.
Nick and I have spent a lot of time in Bali, where we love the attention to detail, freshness, colours and playfulness of their dishes. Both of us have experienced the benefits of cleaner eating made and using quality products and produce, which is something we really wanted to share with everyone. Luckily for us, but not by chance, we have a very passionate and dedicated team at Buster Greens so we don't have to look too far for inspiration.
Our Head Chef and good friend, Joe, is amazing. We are constantly bouncing ideas off each other and he is a massive inspiration to us. We can tell him exactly what we are envisioning, then, like magic, we are able to turn the idea into another amazing dish.

Q: What makes your menu memorable?

Our food is made from scratch using the best-quality ingredients we can get, and it really is made with love. So much thought has gone into very single component of every single dish. Our customers always tell us that they are blown away by our presentation, the freshness of the food and, most importantly, the flavour.
Our menu offers something for everyone, whether it is a tasty plant-based meal, a twist on a classic Benedict, a fresh cold-pressed juice, delicious organic beef burger or a lush cinnamon brioche scroll. Fear of our food not being memorable is what drives us.

Q: What is your favourite item on your menu and why?

This is the hardest question to answer! It would have to be a tie between our slow-cooked egg on house-made potato herb hash with crispy anchovy & salsa verde, or our slow-cooked lamb shoulder with homemade flatbread, smoked beetroot hummus bitter greens & dukkah. It's always so hard to choose!

Q: What do you want Buster Greens to be known for?

Freshness, flavour and flair… as well as how much we care about the wellbeing of our customers and our environment. We really do love food and try so hard to make that come across on our plates. Great service is also extremely important to us - we think it makes the food taste even better! All our team are friendly, positive and passionate in their own right.

Q: Are there any sustainable aspects of your business that you are most proud of?

The world's environmental issues are never far from our minds, so reducing our carbon footprint by using as many local suppliers as we can is very important to us, as well as having a lot of plant-based options.
All our packaging is compostable, and we recycle as much as our council will allow for. We re-use all our jars, and run a jar-swap system for some takeaway menu items with our customers. We've organised with our suppliers that the majority of all our produce and ingredients arrives in boxes or crates to eliminate the use of plastic.
Buster Greens
466 George Street
Dunedin North
Monday - Friday: 6:30am-3:30pm
Saturday: 7:30am-3:30pm
Sunday: 8:30am-3:30pm