Oh My Cod

A New Fish and Chips Shop Has Opened on Anna Maria Island

With crunchy fish, fresh seafood, and loads of hot sandwiches, Kiwi Style Fish and Chips is the perfect post-beach stop.

By Lauren Jackson October 18, 2022

Fish and chips at Kiwi Style Fish and Chips.

Fish and chips at Kiwi Style Fish and Chips.

Wayne Tagelagi and his wife, Nicole, moved to the area a year ago to open their restaurant concept, Kiwi Style Fish and Chips, on Anna Maria Island. In September of this year, that happened—with an outpouring of support from the community.

"I can't believe how welcoming the people are here," says Tagelagi. 

While the Anna Maria location is new for the couple, the restaurant concept has proven itself time again. Having operated successful fish and chip shops in Sydney, Australia, and on the North Shore of Oahu, HI, the Tagelagis set their sights on the continental United States for their next great adventure.

"We saw a video about Sarasota on YouTube and three days later, we were here," Tagelagi says.

Tagelagi, who originally hails from Niue, a small island in the Pacific Ocean, calls his business a hobby.

"When you have a good hobby, you never work," he says.

His foray into the industry is different from many. He says he thought being a restaurateur would give him the freedom to do what he wanted, like play rugby. That laid-back attitude has driven his success and kept him from losing momentum in an industry known for burnout.

The mural at Kiwi Style Fish and Chips.

The mural at Kiwi Style Fish and Chips.

The new shop is outfitted with natural wood booths and picnic tables with a mural wall showcasing people enjoying fish and chips along the shore. The décor is bright and sunny (words that could also be used to describe the owners). The menu features burgers and seafood, and while I'm tempted to try a fish burger, I opt for the namesake fish and chips.

A golden, glistening hunk of battered Atlantic cod arrives atop a bed of steaming fries, or "chips." I scrape my plastic fork across the top of the fish and it crackles along the crispy exterior. The meal is served with a sweet tartar sauce and a lemon, which I squeeze over the fish. The first few bites are a satisfying blend of textures, with the soft flaky fish contrasting the crisp battered coating. I could not be more pleased.

So what makes these fish and chips "Kiwi style?"  Tagelagi explains that in New Zealand—also known as Aotearoa, which means "land of the long white cloud," in its Indigenous Māori—fish and chips are a staple. The locals, who are affectionately called "kiwis," love the dish.

"Kiwi kids will pick fish and chips over pizza," he says. "We often eat it with bread and butter and tomato sauce, but it's our ingredients and our fish that make it better than anywhere."

While he is sourcing the fish from closer waters than New Zealand, he continues to keep quality top of mind.

The restaurant is a great option for a crowd of hungry diners, especially after a long day at the beach. Not into fish and chips? No problem—with beef burgers, calamari burgers, battered and grilled fish, and plump shrimp skewers, there is something to satisfy every appetite. I'll be returning to give that fish burger a try.

Kiwi Style Fish and Chips is open Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. at 3608 E. Bay Drive, Holmes Beach. For more information call (941) 704-5040 or visit their website.

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