Carluccio’s Italian restaurant and deli comes to Cork

Cork City is due to get a significant new, branded Italian restaurant and deli — a Carluccio’s.

The high-profile Italian brand long associated with chef, cookery book writer, TV chef and businessman Antonio Carluccio has 80 restaurants already, mostly in the UK.

It has two in Dublin and six in Dubai, and now is to open in Cork city’s French Church Street, in an area known as the Huguenot Quarter.

Paying a rent in excess of €130,000 pa, Carluccio’s saw off other bidding interest to finally secure a Cork city footprint, eight years after it arrived in Dublin and was known to have had an eye out for a new Irish presence, outside of the Capital.

It’s understood that Milanos also was interested in the building, for a second Cork pizza restaurant to add to its presence on Oliver Plunkett Street.

The city sector near Opera Lane and off Patrick Street and which serves Apple’s city offices base too on Half Moon Street is already home to an unprecedented number of Cork cafes, ethnic eateries, creperies, coffee houses and mainstream restaurants which have surged into any available units in tandem with a return of consumer spending.

Carluccio’s was founded by “the godfather of Italian gastronomy” — the 79-year-old Antonio Carluccio, who first worked with Terence Conran in Neal Street, London, where he part-trained a certain young chef called Jamie Oliver.

He went on open his own food shop deli in 1991, and his first Carluccio’s Caffe in 1999, expanding rapidly in the 2000s.

He sold the business in 2010 to a Dubai-based company, in a deal valued at as much as £90 million. He has been retained as a food and business consultant.

Now, in Cork following a planning clearance in the past week for change of use, Carluccio’s is taking space earmarked for restaurant use at the back of the former Moderne store, one of Cork’s 20th Century icons, now occupied on the Patrick’s Street end by Superdry.

Carluccio’s will be seen as a coup for the city centre and Huguenot Quarter and a very strong draw, even regionally, as it also retails Italian food products to take away.

On French Church Street, it will have its main restaurant area on the first floor of five-storey 19th century former stone warehouse, above a deli and seating section, with street seating also.

The upper floors of the very old, protected structure have been untouched for the best part of a century.

It’s close to where Nandos have opened in the past year, and also joining the feeding fray here are international brands like Starbucks on Emmet Place, and Wetherspoons, on Paul Street.

Indigenous and smaller traders including salad bars too have flooded in, joining long-time stalwarts such as Amicus, Brackens and the Ballymaloe Cafe at the Crawford Art Gallery, while a new arrival and top bakery on Paul Street Plaza is Ali’s Kitchen.

The French Church Street restaurant space (c 2,000 sq ft per floor) now to be occupied by Carluccio’s (represented by Karl Stewart, DTZ) was marketed by agents Leigh Hegarty and Lia Dennehy of Savills Cork, and was actively viewed by a number of out-of-town food chains as well as local restaurateurs, as well as Milanos who still have a further city space requirement.

The highly rated Carluccio’s opened in Dublin in Dawson Street in 2008, and subsequently in south county Dublin, at Glenageary.

Its Cork city, its xx-seat French Church Street premises of 10,000 sq ft over five levels will require work to be done by the building’s landlord and considerable fitout prior to opening, likely to be in 2017.

“Carluccio’s coming to Cork is a real, further vote of confidence in the city centre, which also is getting new retail presence on Grand Parade/Patrick Street in the rapidly-delivered Capitol cinema complex,” say Savills.

DETAILS: Savills, 021-4271371; www.carluccios.com


Lifestyle

There is just one universally heard buzz word in the wine world these days and that is ‘sustainability’.Wine List: The top sustainable wines to buy right now

Esther N McCarthy finds funky fabric and Bantry baskets as well as exploring virtual galleries. Wish List: In pursuit of funky fabric and Bantry baskets

Pubs have been closed across this island for over two months. Can you imagine if they were closed for 14 years? To mark the centenary of the introduction of Prohibition in the US, Robert O'Shea selects examples of its cultural legacyWhat did Prohibition ever do for us?

Des O'Driscoll looks at some of the top picks on the TV today.TV highlights: A new 'make-under' dating show and Kevin McGahern paints celeb protraits

More From The Irish Examiner