The closure of the Michelin-starred Mews in Baltimore, Co Cork adds it to a lengthening and all-too-frequently extended list of good restaurants that have gone out of business for one reason or another.
Mews is not the only south of Ireland restaurant to go out of business recently. Richy’s, and Deasy’s in Clonakilty have closed, and Arundel’s By the Pier in Ahakista closes this month. Cork City’s Les Gourmandises closed some months ago as did the Ivory Tower.
There are few business where the challenge, risk, and work load are so very high, especially if seasonality is a factor.
The return of 13.5% Vat, increases in rents, rates and insurance, and staff shortages, challenge the sector. The plan to insist that restaurants publish calorie levels adds pressure too.
Nevertheless, it says something significant that the casualty rate is so high and so relentless — especially at a time when interest in food, its preparation and provenance is so ubiquitous.
These businesses enrich our lives and add greatly to the quality of life we can enjoy. It may be time to find a way to be more supportive as a society and as individuals.