THE closure of two popular restaurants in West Cork has sent shockwaves through the restaurant industry, just weeks into the new year.
The announcement by the owners of Rosscarbery’s Pilgrim’s Restaurant – mentioned in the Michelin Guide – that they are to close their doors for the final time on April 2nd after eight years in business, came as a surprise to many within the local restaurant sector.
Mark Jennings and his partner Sadie Pearce posted online that ‘it’s with a heavy heart’ that their destination restaurant will be closing its doors.
‘After eight years in beautiful Rosscarbery and a second bundle of joy joining our family in the coming weeks, we have decided it’s time for change,’ they said.
‘It’s a decision we have not made lightly, we’ve so enjoyed our time here. We love the building and Rosscarbery. We are very sad to go.’
The couple added that Pilgrims had tried to be a sustainable business from the beginning, but ‘now it’s time to make life sustainable for us rearing a small family.’
However, they have hinted that they may not be fully leaving hospitality and said that ‘plans are afoot for the next chapter.’
The announcement sparked an outpouring of emotion online with many Facebook posts describing Pilgrims as being a huge boost to the entire Rosscarbery area, and said they will be sorely missed.
Meanwhile, in Kinsale, the owner of the Cru Wine Bar & Bistro closed on January 14th after five years in the business. Colm Ryan said they had decided not to renew their lease this coming March.
‘We’ve had five years, gone in the blink of an eye, and although it’s been difficult at times, there are no regrets, just many new friends made and lots of great memories, ‘ he said.
Colm also thanked his staff and their suppliers as well as regular customers ‘who visited us weekly or monthly and who experienced my many ups and downs with me.’
Meanwhile, former president of the Restaurants’ Association of Ireland (RAI) and member of its national council representing Cork, Liam Edwards of Jim Edwards Bar and Restaurant in Kinsale said reports in Cork were that the Christmas trade had been very strong.
‘However, it doesn’t hide away from the fact that the costs of operating a restaurant have made it just not viable for some restaurants to stay open,’ he told The Southern Star.
‘There is not a week that goes by where we don’t have a letter in the post from one of our suppliers of a price increase.
‘This might not be the sole reason why these restaurants are closing, but it’s definitely a huge factor,’ he said.