Food

Foodies Fight Back: From Michelin gems to coffee with llamas, enticing places await you in Ireland

independent.ie– Overlooking Donegal Bay, Salthill Cabin is an enchanting little coffee shop serving barista-style coffee, milkshakes, and delicious homemade delights from eclairs to rocky roads to carrot cakes. Aisling Chapman, who opened in 2018 beside the Big Pier in Mountcharles, describes the pier as “the heart of the community, being used for recreational activities throughout the year”.

“As a family-run business, everyone is involved one way or another. My husband Andrew, who has worked in the hospitality industry since the age of 15, and all of our four children contribute greatly to its success. Our eldest son Ross often works in the Cabin, and is currently studying for a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality and Tourism at Letterkenny Institute of Technology.”

Starting out, they decided to put a few pygmy goats in the field behind the Cabin to create a little attraction for people whilst they enjoyed their coffee. “Following our first season in business it became clear just how important these goats were, and how much people enjoyed watching them play. It was then we decided to expand to encompass a petting zoo, which is free to visit, and now also includes Kunekune pigs, rabbits, alpacas, peacocks, chickens, ducks and geese. People travel to us from all over the country to take a stroll along the shore with llamas and alpacas. We’ve also expanded and improved the Cabin with the addition of wheelchair-accessible paths and ramps, and added to our menu with a new range of drinks, cakes and bakes.”

Pre-covid they also held farmers’ markets at Christmas and Easter.

“Our life revolves around the Cabin and the animals. We’re so grateful, particularly over the past year as it kept us all busy. It’s what we love to do and who we are.”

THE TRAILER

Portlaoise-based Liam Kelly and business partner Eddie Power started Treo Coffee Co in a mobile catering unit in February 2020. A few weeks later, the country faced into its first lockdown. With no trading opportunities, it was a tough time for them and, as a new business, they didn’t qualify for any pandemic supports. “However, it gave us time to prepare, build relationships with traders and engage with our Local Enterprise Office, who were very helpful.”

They landed their first trading pitch at Cill Dara Golf Club in June 2020, which was allowed to open the course but not the clubhouse. “It was a great place for us to start; there were always players coming in off the course who’d stop for a chat and give us feedback. It really helped us build confidence in our little company.

“Cill Dara, however, was a temporary location for us. We eventually got invited to trade at Merrion Square’s Thursday lunchtime market and at Whelehan’s Wines’ weekend market. We are very thankful to be a part of these markets — a godsend to traders and customers alike during Covid — and it felt like we were all part of a vibrant community.”

They hope to open a cafe in the future, but right now they’re close to launching their own-label coffee beans and ground coffee. “We’re also building a package for weddings and will apply to trade at some of the bigger music and arts festivals once they’re back. It’s been a strange time to start a business but, despite the challenges, I’m very glad we did.”

They hope to open a cafe in the future, but right now they’re close to launching their own-label coffee beans and ground coffee. “We’re also building a package for weddings and will apply to trade at some of the bigger music and arts festivals once they’re back. It’s been a strange time to start a business but, despite the challenges, I’m very glad we did.”

Related Articles

Back to top button