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!