Gallagher’s Boxty use lockdown period to reset business model

Gallagher’s Boxty use lockdown period to reset business model

By Maurice Garvey

CODDLE and Boxty are traditional dishes but strangely enough, they are not easily found on menus in the city.

Perhaps an unfair perception is they are seen as outdated, but considering how tasty the dishes are, it is quite perplexing to not see this option at many restaurants, cafes and takeaways.

Padraic outside Restaurant 1

Padraic Og Gallagher outside his restaurant

One local business that has kept this link alive over the last 30 years is Gallagher’s Boxty.

Established by chef and restaurateur Pádraic Óg Gallagher, the business comprises the popular Boxty House restaurant in Temple Bar, the Boxty House Kitchen and a brewery in Tallaght.

While the former has been decimated with the rest of the hospitality industry due to coronavirus, it is the Tallaght kitchen (providing a click and collect/delivery service from the menu) that has kept the business going.

“We are a struggling start up after 30 years,” quips Pádraic, a food champion of the Irish potato.

Pádraic used the lockdown period to reset the business model from the kitchen in Hibernian Industrial Estate, off the Greenhills Road.

Stews132 1

Some of his popular dishes

Old favourites like traditional Irish stew, Dublin coddle and a Boxty spice box, are complimented by other dishes such as Boxty beef burgers, vegetarian beetroot burgers and curry and vegetables.

“I was taken aback by the amount of people that saw the menu and said they didn’t see those dishes on other menus,” said Pádraic, a former president of the Restaurants Association of Ireland.

“People are looking for something different. That’s the feedback we have been getting. Reviews have been all good, it is nice to see that.

“It has been a soft opening the last three weeks. The primary investment at the moment is the kitchen and takeouts. Top seller is the beef stew, and the boxty dumplings with chicken and bacon has been a winner.”

Óg Gallagher started the award winning Temple Bar restaurant in 1988 but Covid-19 hit hard, effectively closing the premises.

“We have been through it all, Mad Cow (disease), a couple of recessions, 18 per cent interest rates in the 90s,” he said.

“It did seat about 100 people, but with the guidelines, that was down to 38/40. We were operational on July 16 for four days, but is just wasn’t happening.

“There was a flooding issue in the basement which the landlord was taking care of, seating out the back only seated 18, so we said, you know what, some pubs are reopening, we will monitor the situation.”

Up to 22 staff had to be let go from the business, something Pádraic regrets.

“It is a sad reality. I have guys with me for 20 years, that’s family. It has been a tough six months without income.”

Re-hiring staff members is something he is keen to do when the time allows, but for now, the focus is on the kitchen and potential growth in Tallaght.

“We are looking at different expansions in Tallaght and hope to bring other products to the market, premium brands,” he said.

A key aspect of the business model over the last 30 years is sourcing “good wholesome Irish produce.”

“I like to work with small independent farms. The first thing for me is the quality of produce I can construct into really nice food. I think there is a good market out there for that, I eat it, my kids eat it.”

The next generation in the family, Pádraic’s son Jack (24) is now a part of the business after finishing college, ensuring Gallagher Boxty dishes will remain a viable option on menus for years to come.

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