Buy Local & Support Local Businesses
Food tastes better when you eat with your family or friends. Everyone enjoys a nice meal shared with a dear person in one of our favorite restaurants in the town. The pandemic made this small pleasure hard, even impossible, so we learned to appreciate it and never take it for granted.
With the indoor dining allowed again, we wanted to shine a light on some of Dún Laoghaire’s favorite restaurants and bars. We were inspired by the stories of the business owners and managers. They turned the devastating situation they found themselves in into something positive and came out of it even stronger.
Let’s hear their stories and get an idea of where to eat next time you are going out.
McKenna’s pub is known as a hidden gem of Dún Laoghaire. It’s a family-owned business with more than a hundred years long tradition in our community as the third generation of the McKenna family is leading the business now. We had a great pleasure of talking to Claire, a co-owner of the pub who told us more about their business, but also how they survived the trials the pandemic put in front of them.
McKenna’s always put emphasis on customer service that their amazing staff provide especially having good banter with the guests. As nothing beats a good pint of Guinness, having great quality Guinness was and still is one of McKenna’s priorities. They also have a superb selection of gins, Champaign, and wine. When people come to McKenna’s they can count on having a good laugh and the feeling of being in a place like it’s a “home from home”.
Claire and her husband Connor took the opportunity during the pandemic to renovate the pub. They planned to expand it, so while the business was closed they got to work. The pub was redecorated and the lounge increased in size by 60%.
We loved their mindset in the hard situation. Even though they were forced to close for the public they thought about how they could turn it into something positive and improve their business. Claire and Connor worked on the renovation ideas together, guided by what they personally loved to have when they are going out to relax and have some fun.
Claire McKenna co-owners at McKenna’s Bar and Lounge
McKenna’s Bar message to their customers
McKenna’s bar created a truly lovely environment to welcome back their customers who want to enjoy their night out. They are very mindful of the government guidelines and protection of the people coming in.
Claire wanted to say a special thank you to the Dun Laoghaire community. She, her family and her team appreciate all the support and kind messages sent to them during the last 15 months.
Some fantastic additions are coming soon that will shake up McKenna’s. Watch this space for some delicious cocktails.
You can also watch a game on McKenna’s massive HD projector screens and TVs or enjoy a night out with live music every Saturday and Sunday.
Here’s where you can find McKenna’s Bar:
8 Wellington St, Dún Laoghaire
Please welcome a new business in our town. Madras Club is an Indian restaurant that serves authentic Indian dishes with Indian’s unique flavours and spices. They serve high-quality food made by their own pioneer Indian chef and we were lucky to get this talented man to do an interview with us.
Jishan Jose shared with us that the restaurant is owned by three partners all originally from the south of India. Their goal was to introduce special, original food from India we never tried before like Kerala Chicken Curry or Madras Curry. Jishan himself was a chef in a McLoughlin’s bar prior to joining the Madras team. One of the partners discovered him there and realised Jishan can do more than pub food. Together they worked with a renowned chef from Nepal who thought them Indian recipes our community was not familiar with, as the goal was to offer something different to the customers.
An interesting fact is that Madras is an old name for Chennai, a city in the south of India. There’s a place in Chennai that’s also called Madras Club and it’s where all Indian-European food has originated from.
Although the Madras Club is just a few months in Dun Laoghaire the reactions from our community were great so far. Jishan mentioned that the Indian community from both the north and south of the country love and appreciate original tastes from their home.
Jishan Jose chef at Madras Club
Madras Club message to their customers
Jishan emphasized that the Madras Club doesn’t use artificial flavoring or coloring. They use Indian masalas to give the food vibrant colours and perfect flavour. Everything in the Madras Club kitchen is handmade, even the bread, and everyone can find something to suit their taste. Whether you like mild, medium, or spicy, or you’d like to try something different, Madras club has it on their menu.
Here’s where you can find Madras Club:
73 George’s Street Upper, Dún Laoghaire
We believe there is no a single person who doesn’t like Chinese cuisine. We are very fortunate to have Nunki Tea House, a cozy spot in our town with delicious Chinese dishes, and other specials as well. Their manager Mindy was very kind to share the story about the restaurant with us.
Nunki Tea House prides itself in serving authentic tastes of China. They only use free range eggs and meat produced in Ireland. Authentic flavors are coming from spices imported by Asia Market. All dishes are freshly made in their restaurant in Dun Laoghaire. They also have a 24-hour prebook menu featuring sophisticated Chinese dishes that take longer to prepare. We are sure the wait will be worth it. There’s also something for vegans and gluten-free diets.
There’s also something new on the Nunki’s menu. Japanese cake is an absolutely fabulous new treat, but also a bubble tea. There’s no one in Dun Laoghaire who makes the bubble tea but Nunki.
Mindy Lu manager at Nunki Dun Laoghaire
Nunki Tea House message to their customers
Mindy is inviting their customers to stop by Nunki and try the new layered Japanese cake and bubble tea. They plan to make Japanese bread as well in the near future.
Nunki also offers 10% discount on all online orders.
Here’s where you can find Nunki Tea House:
138, 139 George’s Street Lower, Dún Laoghaire
We believe everyone knows that one bright shop in Dun Laoghaire, colored in green, looking warm and cozy, bringing smiles to our faces. You probably guessed right, we are talking about the Sunshine Cafe. Its owners Siobhan and Fazil were very kind to take a few moments from their busy day and share their story with us.
Siobhan and Fazil are passionate about cooking and making delicious food. They opened the Sunshine Cafe in 2008. However, they were honing their skills in other restaurants, growing to be excellent chefs, and are both in the industry for a long time now.
Their biggest desire is to provide good food, a friendly atmosphere, great service to their customers, putting their heart into everything they do. As Fazil said, “The food is the only thing I know”. He loves cooking and doesn’t feel his work as hardship, rather as joy, passion, and calling.
Siobhan & Fazil, Owners at The Sunshine Cafe
The Sunshine Cafe message to their customers
Everyone is welcome in the Sunshine Cafe. Families with small children, or people with pets and special diets. There’s food and a place for everyone.
The Sunshine Cafe is open for in-door dining, but Siobhan and Fazil are especially proud of their outdoor garden, known as a “Secret Garden”.
They are welcoming guests for evening dining and the garden is suitable for this occasion with provided heating and its lovely atmosphere. Engulfed in candlelight, their guests are able to relax and feel happy. Many even expressed that they feel like they are on a vacation as the garden provides a feeling of “being away”.
Siobhan and Fazil are constantly working on the menu, introducing new meals, but they are also specialists in Mediterranean food. You can also bring your own wine if you have your favorite.
They are both thrilled to be back and inviting everyone to come and experience Sunshine Cafe.
Here’s where you can find The Sunshine Cafe:
107 George’s Street Lower, Dún Laoghaire
Phoenix Cafe & Bistro – Newly opened in Dún Laoghaire!
Another “new business in town” alert. This time, please join us in welcoming Phoenix Cafe & Bistro.
Its owners Michaela and Marius arrived in Ireland in 2013. These proactive people started their careers in the industry in a local cafe. Shortly, Michaela was promoted to a managerial position where she spent two years and in 2015 she and her partner took over the branch. Michaela was a manager and waitress and her partner a chef and they were running that cafe for four years. Setting up the Phoenix Cafe was their dream that they finally got to fulfill in March this year.
Michaela and Marius are passionate about the hospitality industry. Michaela was born into it. Both her parents were business owners and her partner has been working in the restaurants his entire life. They started the Phoenix as a cafe, but their goal is to turn it into a restaurant. As Michaela said, they have to take it easy, “one step at a time”.
Customers’ reviews keep them motivated to do a good job, get better, and keep going.
Michaela & Marius, Co-owners at Phoenix Cafe
Phoenix Cafe message to their customers
The situation is still challenging for the dining venues with the safety questions, vaccination certificates, and contact info, no matter that the restrictions are eased up. So what Michaela is asking for is a bit of patience from everyone while the staff is doing their best to accommodate their guests.
There are rules that have to be respected and Phoenix Cafe is doing its best to keep everyone safe.
All food in the cafe is made when ordered, from fresh Irish products. Some of the spices are imported, but the meat and other products are sourced from Irish farmers.
Here’s where you can find Phoenix Cafe:
Convent Lane, Dún Laoghaire, Dún Laoghaire
Ready to enjoy delicious food in Dun Laoghaire?
Our taste buds are ready, what about yours? Irish, Chinese, Italian, Indian, well-known or new recipes, we are excited to try them all. We also admire passion pouring from each person we have spoken to. These people have food and hospitality in their veins. Feeding us and making us feel special is their life calling and we are grateful they run their businesses in Dun Laoghaire.
Thank you for supporting our Dun Laoghaire business community!
Please note that all participants in the above photos kindly met at their business location by appointment in a socially distanced manner and temporarily removed their face masks to pose for the photos for this feature.
For a list of all the retail outlets in our town please see our Dún Laoghaire Town business directory.
Would you like us to include your business in future Love Dún Laoghaire features?
We would be delighted to, please send an email to [email protected] with details of your location in Dún Laoghaire and we will be in touch.