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Galway firmly at the base of award-winning pizza business

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Eugene Greaney is the Galway man behind Dough Bros Pizza, and in creating his brand of rustic, kitsch casual dining on Upper Abbeygate Street he’s realised his dream.

The former Salthill Devon player has seen his business go from “street stall to high street in one year” and recently scooped the prize for Best Newcomer at the Irish Restaurant Association Awards.

They’ve been bestowed with a plethora of accolades in the past twelve months including the prestigious McKenna Award which goes some way towards proving that they are most definitely doing something right.

“This month [April] has been huge, with the food festival, the kids off school and the sensational weather,” Eugene says.

“There have been a few awards lately and they all came at the same time. It surprised us all about the Irish Restaurant Association Award, we weren’t a member and we went on to win the best newcomer, which is fairly unheard of.

“We’ve been so focused on improving the product and the customer experience that you don’t really notice what’s going on around you, so winning a few awards gives everyone such a boost.”

The Dough Bros have never been outside the top seven out of 356 restaurants in Galway on the Tripadvisor website, so to say they are going from strength to strength is probably an understatement.

The Dough Bros pride themselves on what Eugene refers to as “a remarkable product and a remarkable service, these were our core values from the start and they haven’t changed.” They specialise in a delectable array of Pizzas with a creative twist, it’s a pizza experience unlike any other found in the city.

It’s been an incredible few years for the graduate of the University of Limerick. Eugene studied Business and Marketing, something which he feels he has really used to his advantage.

He spotted the gap in the market and this is where the Dough Bros story begins. “I didn’t know how anybody wasn’t doing this already in Galway. I saw the opportunity but knew I didn’t have the money for a restaurant, so I began to research mobile wood fire pizza units.”

And it was his love of both Italian and street food that brought the business in the direction it has taken.

The street food scene has exploded in Dublin, the UK and in the States and he has adapted the street food culture to his own vision of the business, so far, so good.

In just under a year, they went from working from a custom made trailer at the Moycullen market on Fridays, outside Pure Skill in Knocknacarra Saturdays and the St Nicholas Market on Sundays to now employing 16 people in his restaurant on Upper Abbeygate Street. It’s been an exciting few months for Eugene and his team.

Eugene had gone travelling after university and returned to Ireland in 2010 in the midst of the economic downturn. He managed to get a marketing job where he felt he was excelling but, at the same time, he felt somewhat frustrated with being behind the desk.

After 18 months in the job, the company made the decision to relocate its business back to Canada and he was left jobless.

“I decided that I was tired of being dependent on someone else for work, now I’m dependent on me. On the flipside, I now have 16 people reliant on me and I don’t want what happened to me, to happen to them, it’s an added pressure.”

This drive within him is evident, he’s passionate about the product they produce and the experience they provide. “It was down to timing, I knew I was ready to try and make this happen.” He attributes his own degree to the success of the business getting off the ground.

“I’d already begun to source equipment and suppliers. On top of this, my final year project was on business plans. I had practical experience writing them, so when I went to the bank with my proposal they were happy with it, cleared it and I got the funding fairly quickly,” he says.

Their first gig in June 2013 saw the fruition of months of hard work, research and meticulous preparation culminate in disaster.

“I’d put €30,000 into the business; it was my first gig down in Terryland for Salthill Devon against Shamrock Rovers in the FAI Cup. We were catering for the fans and for Shamrock Rovers players.

“It went really well and leaving the ground I high-fived my brother, it was the happiest moment of my life. The area was poorly lit and we smashed into probably the lowest bridge in Ireland, the trailer was in smithereens,” he recalls.

Eugene put this setback behind him and got straight back to work, having another trailer built and luckily salvaging the oven and he was back in time for the Galway Women’s Mini Marathon a few weeks later.

Bouncing back from the initial setback they established themselves as a mainstay down the market on Sundays and gradually began to build up a customer base.

“It was really nice being a part of the markets, particularly in Moycullen on Fridays. It had such an incredible standard of food and a special atmosphere, to be a part of it was fantastic. The discipline of being there week in week out taught us a great consistency.”

If the glowing reviews on Tripadvisor are anything to go by, he is certainly right. In June 2014 the Dough Bros made the big jump to Upper Abbeygate Street and they haven’t looked back since.

In Dough Bros they’ve created a unique brand and succeeded in spite of the economically perilous times. Eugene has this advice: “If you’re at the stage where you feel ready to give 100% to an idea, go for it. The hardest part is taking the first step.”

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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