If there’s blood on the streets of Cork city with its recent wave of new restaurants and bars opening for business, there’s a quarter-cut of the city that may well have a roll to play. It’s McCurtain Street.
Already home to two dozen cafes, bars, take-aways, restaurants, as well as the Metropole Hotel, the one-way street gets two new eating houses, side-by-side, and equally aimed at carnivores, this month.
The first, Bad Boy’s BBQ, opened Friday last week in a blaze of oak smoke and scent from a 1,500kg wood-burning BBQ smoker, next to Gallagher’s Pub.
Now, following fast on its beef-to-the-heels is the opening next week in the former, iconic Crowley’s Music shop of the 85-seat Son of a Bun burger restaurant.
Behind the venture are burger aficionados Niall O’Regan, who trained as a hotel manager, his north London wife Amanda Jones, and the new 4,500 sq ft restaurant will be managed by Amanda’s sister, Holly Jones.
Mr O’Regan first opened Niall’s in Bandon Shopping Centre in 2002, employing 20 and doing up to 500 covers a day, and he also established the Coffee Pod on Lapps Quay Boardwalk in 2006, followed by the Coffee Pod. news agency on Winthrop Street in 2007, in part of the old Lee cinema.
Laden with meaty puns, and a menu that includes sides, chicken and vegetarian burgers, Son of a Bun will initially employ 20-25 full and part-time staff and open seven days a week.
There are plans to expand further into the lower-ground/basement as well, which is currently used as a prep kitchen.
The building renovations have revealed old ceiling beams and trusses which have now been opened up and exposed, and it’s likely total investment will top €400,000, including €200k building purchase and renovations.
Son of Bun will be, literally, cheek-to-jowl with Bad Boys BBQ, whose owners have taken on a physical premises after festivals and markets catering, while around the corner on Bridge Street is the long-established Gourmet Burger.
And, at McCurtain Street’s far end, is another BBQ base, the White Rabbit bar and BBQ,: in between is a mix of sushi bars, chippers, pizza pads and fish restaurants, as well as higher-end restaurants such as Greenes and Isaacs also on the street.
Opening too this week this week was a fifth Ramen Asian street food restaurant, in Douglas village, while a Nandos and a salad bar are also due to open in the city centre, on Academy Street.
Proving the point that economic recovery is an army that marches on its stomach, earlier in the summer a Spanish tapas ‘Feed Your Senses’ opened on Washington Street, next to a newly-opened bar, the James Street 1767, in a former Xtravision outlet.
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