THE closure of the award-winning Good Things restaurant in Skibbereen has paved the way for the opening of another restaurant venture by the sisters behind Baltimore’s Glebe Café.
The landmark building at Dillon’s Corner was home to restaurateur and food writer, Carmel Somers, who ran the business for the last two years with the assistance of her daughters, Briony, Ellen and Jill. But in the coming weeks the restaurant will be taken over by the Perry sisters, Tessa, Kez and JoJo. For 13 years, before her move to the heart of Skibbereen town, Carmel ran a café and cookery school in Durrus. At the time, the relocation of the business was considered to be something of a coup for the town and just seven months after it opened, in March 2016, Good Things won the Georgina Campbell award for Best Restaurant.
The award was presented in recognition of Carmel’s exceptional talents as a chef, teacher and food writer and the accolade acknowledged Carmel’s ability to produce ‘sublime food in terms of seasonality, simplicity and fresh flavours.’
Carmel Somer’s cooking has always attracted high-profile fans like Graham Norton, as well as locals David and Patsy Puttnam, and today she is gaining more food fans as a columnist in The Irish Times weekend magazine.
Although all good things must come to an end, Carmel confirmed that the cookery classes will go ahead as scheduled upstairs in Dillon’s Corner.
The reopening of Dillon’s Corner, after many years of having remained idle, involved a lot of internal and external work and the premises.
The curved building, which is located at the intersection of three of Skibbereen’s busiest streets, will be put to good use by Tessa Perry, the chef at The Glebe, and her sisters Kez and Jo-Jo.
It is a new departure for the Perry sisters who were delighted to have won the Best Café award out of 31,000 entries in the 2015 Irish Times ‘Best in Ireland’ competition.
Their parents, Peter and Jean, purchased the old rectory and surrounding five-acres in 1989 and began serving teas – first in the house and then in a refurbished cowshed – to those who had come to view the gardens they had created.
Over time, the café continued to grow but it was only in recent years that the Perry siblings took over. Tessa and Jo-Jo do the cooking, whilst Kez works front of house, leaving Mia, to work as a silent partner in the business.
The sisters plan to run both cafés simultaneously and the menu in Skibbereen will feature the same light lunches, but with some added attractions.