Monday, February 6, 2012

Sharon puts her money where her mouth is

I have butterflies in my stomach as I write this. Regular readers will know that I promised to announce something today and my Twitter followers will know that I've been working up to something for a while. Well, I'm finally ready to reveal just what it is that I've been planning:

I'M OPENING A CAFÉ IN DINGLE!!!

Sorry about the screaming capitals but I feel as though little else can convey quite how excited and nervous I'm feeling about this venture. Although it's something I've been thinking about doing for some time, I'm anxious about how it's all going to work out.


From reading previous posts, you'll know that I have had a stall at Dingle Farmers' Market for the past few years and that the cupcakes, brownies and other sweet treats I sell there have proved to be popular with customers. These will be one of the main attractions in my new café, which I'm hoping will become a place where people will come to enjoy good teas, coffees and cakes.


But I'm realistic enough to realise that this won't be enough to sustain a business in Dingle, especially outside of the summer months so I'm also planning to do good sandwiches (roast beef with garlic aioli and rocket, anyone?), soups, brunch specials, salads and three lunch specials that will change regularly, if not daily. There's a lot I still need to sort out but I know that the emphasis I want is seasonal, simple and mostly local food based on quality ingredients.


For those of you who know Dingle, my café is going to be located in Dick Mack's yard where Bee's Teas used to be. For those of you that don't, it will be upstairs in the charming but quite ramshackle building pictured below (there's also a terrace where customers can sit on sunny days).




There's a huge amount to do before it opens - which I hope will be in early March. The outside needs a facelift. So too does the interior. I need to organise insurance; find suppliers; buy crockery, cutlery, tablecloths and kitchen equipment; and hire staff.

There's a lot to worry about. I feel as though I'm really putting my money where my mouth is. I'm going from being a blogger who occasionally reviews restaurants and often finds fault to someone who tries to set up a place of her own. I've got very high standards and I just hope I can meet them.

I'd appreciate any advice you can give me. Suggestions as to where to buy crockery, cutlery, cake stands, cushions for seats and anything else that comes to mind would be more than welcome.

So too would suggestions for a name for my café. So far, I've got The Sweet Season, an Séasúr Blasta (which is Irish for The Tasty/Delicious Season) and Cookies but I don't know if any of them is quite right. 


Think about it and leave your thoughts in the comments below. I want something that conveys the idea of seasonal, natural, simple cooking and the name could also include a reference to sweet treats as they are what I am best known for. 


Don't worry if you think your suggestion sounds batty. Sometimes, batty is best!


33 comments:

  1. Delighted for you Sharon! You must be over the moon, such an amazing venture to take on. I can't wait to pop in for a cuppa and a brownie!!

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  2. Woohoo! Congratulations! Think a Irish name would sound good, maybe just a one worder! Will have a think! Maybe "sasta" or "ocras" ! Delighted for you!

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  3. Sharon!! I am delighted for you! How EXCITING!!!!!! I love the location....it's charming not ramshackled...just darling. I can't wait to visit...and look forward to your updates along the way. Congratulations and best of luck! Hurrah!!!!!!! xxo PS. I LOVE Sweet Season and the Irish version. There used to be a cafe in Adare that i loved and has been closed for several years called BIA. (food in Irish) I thought that was a lovely name too =)

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  4. Wonderful news, congratulations on your exciting new venture!

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  5. Couldn't be happier for you, Sharon, congratulations on taking the plunge. Wishing you every success with it. How about something like Cácaí agus Arán?

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  6. Wow! Congratulations! You go girl! Absolutely thrilled for you! Wishing you every success.

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  7. Congratulations & the very best of luck :)

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  8. It looks fab! Congrats on taking the plunge!

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  9. This is fantastic - congratulations Sharon! I'll have a think about names, but I just wanted to get straight in with a 'woohooo!' comment.

    The very best of luck x

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  10. Congratulations!!! Wishing you the very best of luck with your venture :)

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  11. Congratulation. You are my hero. So maybe go with Batty delicious?

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  12. Congrats and go n-eirí an bothar leat!

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  13. Hurrah for you - hows about 'season to taste'' or ' seasonal flare' if you are sold on the season thing. I quite like Magda's Batty Delicious myself, not much meat on a bat tho.

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  14. Wonderful news! Good luck! It's been a long time since I was inside there making coffees...

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  15. Not too sure about 'blasta' because it reminds me of Leaving Cert 'blastocysts' and explosion-y sounding words but I like the idea of seasonal something, btw :)

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  16. Congratulations, and the very best of luck to you. As a regular at your cupcake stand every Friday, this is very good news for me. (But bad news for my diet).

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  17. Best of luck. www.auctionxchange.ie often has catering equipment, furniture, etc, either for auction or (if it doesn't sell) for sale after their weekly auction. Sometimes its brand new stuff. Check online for items.

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  18. Congratuations, I hope to one day do the same... best of luck, I'll look forward to keeping an eye on your progress. With lots of hard work and enthusiasm will have great results! Well done for taking the plunge.

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  19. Hi Sharon,
    Congrats on your big leap into the food service world in a most stunning part of the country.
    buyandsell.ie, donedeal.ie and of course all department stores have very pretty ranges of crockery, glasses and cake stands. If you also root around the car boot sales and second hand shops you may find some quirky bits to add character to your cafe.
    You might also be interested in having a look at our new Open Your Own Cafe/Teashop Course coming up on March 5th. It runs for 15 days and is perfect for people who have a dream to open their own place. It is spread over 3 months so you would get the opportunity to work and learn and plan for making a profit as well as having a good time. It covers menu planning, costing, legal stuff, service and kitchen management skills, staff management, food hygiene and lots of other important things to keep a business in profit. Check us out on www.restaurantmanagement.ie.
    Wishing you the very best of luck with it.

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  20. Yay for you! Congrats and the very best of luck on the adventure of a lifetime. I hope we get to drop in this summer :-)

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  21. How about The Sweet Life? Try FBD insurance in Tralee for business rates. They were the best, though not sure about food as that's a bit different(066) 71 22185 Helen helped me and was very good.

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  22. Thanks for all of the lovely comments and suggestions everyone. You've made me feel a whole lot more confident about opening the café. Although writing this and having it in the open has also made me feel even more terrified than I was already feeling! Terrified with a touch of confidence - that's me these days!

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  23. Sharon, I'm only reading this today - you're opening a café! How lovely! It seems we were a year too early in coming to Dingle last summer... I wish you loads of success and many happy customers!

    I actually think we were in that yard - the entrance to it is beside this tiny CD shop, and it's across the church? (We happened to walk into the church after the end of Sunday mass and were given a roughie fish, freshly caught that morning. :-) If any of you saw a women walking through Dingle town on a slightly moist Sunday last summer, carrying a reddish fish in her outstretched arm - that would have been me...)

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  24. As to the name. Of course I'm not a native speaker but maybe there's something helpful among this after all (it will probably be batty enough, if nothing else). Here's some ideas:

    "Delights in season"
    "Daingean's delights"
    "Today's delights" ("Today's bread today"...)
    "Fields of choc" (<-- too chocolaty, I suppose)
    "Season's cookings"
    "Sharon's seasons" (tonguetwister!)
    "All day season" (Like Bewley's "All Day Special" because you'll be offering food for every time of the day, plus it will be seasonal)

    If you go for an Irish name you could try to choose one that would not be too hard to pronounce for all the tourists.

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  25. Thanks for your kind words, Katja. Now you've got another reason to come back to Dingle!
    I never saw you wandering the streets of Dingle with a fish and I actually think it was strange you were given one at all - only in Dingle, I suppose.
    And thanks for all of your suggestions for names too. It's been hard to come up with one and at the moment Beile le Cheile is top of the list - it means meals taken together; it rhymes and hopefully it isn't too difficult to pronounce. What do you think?

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  26. "Meals taken together" - that's a very nice name, and it's the Gaeltacht after all! My hubby and I came up with totally different pronunciations, his sounded like "Baile (Atha Cliath)", I guess mine would rhyme with "feile", the music festival (please forgive any missing accents). We'll practice before our next visit to Dingle!

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  27. Katja, I think I'd feel bad if I didn't have an Irish name and you did well in your pronunciation. It sounds just like Féile and I should have written it as 'Béile le Chéile' too.

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  28. Very nice - we'll start practising then...
    And you're of course totally right about choosing an Irish name. If you locals don't use it, who would?! And the language is a part of the attraction of the area.

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  29. I am sorry I am chiming in so late to the party here. Totally hurried alive with my project so very behind on my blog reading. I love 'Beile Le cheile' and I am certain this is going to be a huge success. Well done in taking the leap of faith. As long as you believe in yourself and take the risk Sharon, you will do very well. Can't wait to read all about it.

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  30. Thanks for the words of encouragement, Mona. I'm glad you like 'Béile le Chéile' and that you think it's going to be a success. I've had some sleepless nights thinking about it not being successful already!
    Good luck with your own project and I look forward to hearing more about it.

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