One of Cork’s most popular restaurants, Fenn’s Quay, has closed. The multi-awardwinning restaurant closed its doors yesterday for the final time ending 20 years of food service.

Chef and manager Kate Lawlor said it had been a difficult past few years and said it was sad to bow out after so many years at the helm.

“It’s just a really sad day. It’s been a restaurant for 20 years. I have been working there 15 years and running it for nine years. I plied my trade there and it’s been a big part of my life. It’s a Cork institution. Some great people and staff have come through the door but it’s just time for someone else with energy and passion to take it on,” she said.

Ms Lawlor pointed to a range of issues, including pay parking being extended to parts of the city by two hours, as factors that hindered the business.

“There was a lot of things. The bus strike in the city didn’t help. There was also the fact that parking regulations changed whereby you had to pay for parking up to 8.30pm. That really affected our Friday evening business. The 9% Vat rate is due to be revisited in the next budget and rates are potentially going up.

“If all those things went up, you are forced to put prices up and you then price yourself out of the market. So rather than reach the bottom, I just decided it was time to exit.

“I am at it for a long time and it’s time for someone else to take it on,” she said.

The restaurant has won numerous awards including being cited in McKenna’s 100 Best in 2014 and 2015, being named Restaurant Association of Ireland Cork’s Best Restaurant in 2014 and 2015, and Bord Bia and Georgina Campbell Just Ask restaurant in 2015. It also made headlines in 2014 when Gabriel Byrne and his then wife to be Hannah Beth King were spotted planning their wedding in the restaurant over tea and scones.

Ms Lawlor said the last few years had been tough and said it was a case of “death by a thousand cuts” as the restaurant became more and more difficult to sustain.

“The last few years have been exhausting. Getting through the recession has been very tough. The 9% Vat rate helped get tourists back but you have things like excise on wine so it’s hard to get wine through the door at a good price and with so many things like that you wonder how you can keep going, pay suppliers and sustain wages.

“We have had a great run. There have been highs and lows along the way but it’s time for a new chapter,” she said.


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