Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Connacht Tribune

Barna duo put their faith in craft beers and burger business

Published

on

It was 6pm on the first Friday of July this summer when Barna men David Fitzpatrick and Frank Greaney officially opened the doors to the public of their joint new business venture: BóTOWN, a craft burgers and beer restaurant, in Galway city’s Westend.

Frank, a senior courts’ reporter with Newstalk and formerly of Galway Bay fm, and David, a medical rep with a strong business background, had spent the guts of the previous three years toiling to realise their long-held desire of owning a restaurant.

“We were ready to roll. Our dream had finally become a reality and we opened and there was tumbleweed,” recalled Frank.

“In our minds, we were thinking there’d be queues of people down the street, people battering each other to try and get in the door to taste our burgers! The one piece of the puzzle that you couldn’t anticipate or plan for was no customers. For the first 45 minutes, until somebody walked in that door, that was the scariest part of this whole journey, and you’re thinking ‘My God, is it too late to turn back now?’,” he said.

It was too late to turn back. And nor did they want to. The duo, who grew up together and knew each other since their days in Scoil Shéamais Naofa in Barna, had invested too much money and, in particular, time and energy into the project for that.

St Patrick’s Day, 2017 was their original opening date but the restoration of the building on Lower Dominick Street – which was formerly Galway Taxi’s office and Dympna Burke’s Drapery before that – took longer than expected, due to it being a protected structure.

“The building was just calling out to be revived,” recalled David, who sourced the premises. “It was 5am starts for 18 months. It really was a labour of love, but it went on and on,” he said.

It was worth the wait, however, and the restoration work on the three-storey building, with two of those storeys now open for diners, is spectacular. They used salvaged materials throughout, including natural stone and reclaimed natural wood – old floorboards from a house in Newcastle. They stripped back the plastered walls to reveal old brick fireplaces, a feature of the two dining spaces; while upstairs, the original Victorian sash windows have been restored, and offer great people-watching opportunities. The light fixtures are made from old Gunbarrel piping and stopcock and the filament is visible in the large traditional bulbs. “We wanted to create an industrial rustic theme,” said David.

The budget was tight, and the pair did much of the clear-out themselves with some help from family and friends, many of who initially tried to talk them out of taking on such a huge project.

“People thought we were mad,” said Frank. “But we always had each other’s backs, no matter what. We had a vision and we were always going to execute it.”

They faced personal adversity during the rebuild, too. Frank’s father – John Greaney Senior – passed away in January of this year and not long after that Frank was sent to Belfast to cover the high-profile rape trial of two Ireland rugby internationals, for which he won a prestigious award.

John Greaney had been a well-known tradesman, and one of his friends, Mike Walsh, who helped with BóTOWN, used some of John’s plastering tools to finish the walls of the building. A classy touch.

No wonder then the lads celebrated their first customer. David admits he “wanted to hug” the first person who came through the doors while Frank remembers they were “high-fiving” after that diner left happy.

The pair’s first business venture together came during their fourth year of Secondary School in St Enda’s College, Salthill, when they organised a school social in Portumna. David remembers the “wodges of cash” they made from the event, which Frank describes as a “rip-roaring success”, until they were hauled before principal, Vincent Kilbane, the following Monday and suspended because it was an unofficial social organised in the school’s name without prior authorisation.

Frank has extensive catering industry experience, having worked in well-known pubs in Galway city including Living Room (now Seven), Cuba (now McGettigan’s) King’s Head, Dew Drop Inn and Front Door; and the two of them worked together in Donnelly’s of Barna seafood bar and restaurant, behind the bar and waiting tables, during college.

“I worked; Frank showed up,” joked David. “When we weren’t stealing profiteroles from the cold room we used to have competitions about who could carry the most plates – there were a few casualties as a result!”

On a serious note, David said it was in Donnelly’s they learned “how unsociable the hours are” but also the “buzz you get out of it”.

Now that they’re back in the industry, hands-on serving in the restaurant, while also holding down full-time ‘day jobs’, they’re experiencing that buzz again. “You make time for the stuff you love and we love it,” said Frank.

The idea for BóTOWN was simple. “We love barbecues. Sitting down every summer among friends with a few beers and burgers,” he said.

The pair could talk for hours about what distinguishes BóTOWN’s burger from its competitors – beef-to-bun ratios, seasoning, cuts of beef and so on – but the fundamental is the quality of ingredients. Their tomatoes, for example, are beef tomatoes and smoked in-house using hickory wood chips. They tried about 12 different types of potatoes before choosing Maris Pipers for their chips, which are washed and chopped on-site – as opposed to bought-in – and cooked twice in beef dripping.

As well as beef, they have fish, chicken and vegetable burgers, a variety of side dishes such as chicken wings, charred corn on the cob and mac n cheese; an extensive selection of craft beers – in ‘small-boy cans’, which are all the rage these days – and wines and hot drinks.

It’s a family-friendly restaurant that can hold 60 people, and caters for large bookings including Christmas parties, where the emphasis is on casual dining and pleasing the customer.

“Every job that we’ve been involved in has been about people. It’s always about the customers and the people you meet and the journey along the way. They come in because they become your buddies – they’re not just customers. They keep coming back,” said David.

Frank agreed: “This was a taxi office in a previous life, and it was a place where you’d go to get home. When we open our doors, this feels like our home and we’re inviting you and yours into ours.”

Connacht Tribune

West has lower cancer survival rates than rest

Published

on

Significant state investment is required to address ‘shocking’ inequalities that leave cancer patients in the West at greater risk of succumbing to the disease.

A meeting of Regional Health Forum West heard that survival rates for breast, lung and colorectal cancers than the national average, and with the most deprived quintile of the population, the West’s residents faced poorer outcomes from a cancer diagnosis.

For breast cancer patients, the five-year survival rate was 80% in the West versus 85% nationally; for lung cancer patients it was 16.7% in the west against a 19.5% national survival rate; and in the West’s colorectal cancer patients, there was a 62.6% survival rate where the national average was 63.1%.

These startling statistics were provided in answer to a question from Ballinasloe-based Cllr Evelyn Parsons (Ind) who said it was yet another reminder that cancer treatment infrastructure in the West was in dire need of improvement.

“The situation is pretty stark. In the Western Regional Health Forum area, we have the highest incidence of deprivation and the highest health inequalities because of that – we have the highest incidences of cancer nationally because of that,” said Cllr Parsons, who is also a general practitioner.

In details provided by CEO of Saolta Health Care Group, which operates Galway’s hospitals, it was stated that a number of factors were impacting on patient outcomes.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Galway minors continue to lay waste to all opponents

Published

on

Galway's Aaron Niland is chased by Cillian O'Callaghan of Cork during Saturday's All-Ireland Minor Hurling semi-final at Semple Stadium. Photo: Stephen Marken/Sportsfile.

Galway 3-18

Cork 1-10

NEW setting; new opposition; new challenge. It made no difference to the Galway minor hurlers as they chalked up a remarkable sixth consecutive double digits championship victory at Semple Stadium on Saturday.

The final scoreline in Thurles may have been a little harsh on Cork, but there was no doubting Galway’s overall superiority in setting up only a second-ever All-Ireland showdown against Clare at the same venue on Sunday week.

Having claimed an historic Leinster title the previous weekend, Galway took a while to get going against the Rebels and also endured their first period in a match in which they were heavily outscored, but still the boys in maroon roll on.

Beating a decent Cork outfit by 14 points sums up how formidable Galway are. No team has managed to lay a glove on them so far, and though Clare might ask them questions other challengers haven’t, they are going to have to find significant improvement on their semi-final win over 14-man Kilkenny to pull off a final upset.

Galway just aren’t winning their matches; they are overpowering the teams which have stood in their way. Their level of consistency is admirable for young players starting off on the inter-county journey, while the team’s temperament appears to be bombproof, no matter what is thrown at them.

Having romped through Leinster, Galway should have been a bit rattled by being only level (0-4 each) after 20 minutes and being a little fortunate not to have been behind; or when Cork stormed out of the blocks at the start of the second half by hitting 1-4 to just a solitary point in reply, but there was never any trace of panic in their ranks.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Gardaí and IFA issue a joint appeal on summer road safety

Published

on

Galway IFA Farm Family and Social Affairs Chair Teresa Roche

GARDAÍ and the IFA have issued a joint appeal to all road users to take extra care as the silage season gets under way across the country.

Silage harvesting started in many parts of Galway last week – and over the coming month, the sight of tractors and trailers on rural roads will be getting far more frequent.

Inspector Conor Madden, who is in charge of Galway Roads Policing, told the Farming Tribune that a bit of extra care and common-sense from all road users would go a long way towards preventing serious collisions on roads this summer.

“One thing I would ask farmers and contractors to consider is to try and get more experienced drivers working for them.

“Tractors have got faster and bigger – and they are also towing heavy loads of silage – so care and experience are a great help in terms of accident prevention,” Inspector Madden told the Farming Tribune.

He said that tractor drivers should always be aware of traffic building up behind them and to pull in and let these vehicles pass, where it was safe to do so.

“By the same token, other road users should always exercise extra care; drive that bit slower; and ‘pull in’ that bit more, when meeting tractors and heavy machinery.

“We all want to see everyone enjoying a safe summer on our roads – that extra bit of care, and consideration for other roads users can make a huge difference,” said Conor Madden.

He also advised motorists and tractor drivers to be acutely aware of pedestrians and cyclists on the roads during the summer season when more people would be out walking and cycling on the roads.

The IFA has also joined in on the road safety appeal with Galway IFA Farm Family and Social Affairs Chair Teresa Roche asking all road users to exercise that extra bit of care and caution.

“We are renewing our annual appeal for motorists to be on the look out for tractors, trailers and other agricultural machinery exiting from fields and farmyards,” she said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

Continue Reading

Trending