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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

GAA club’s tournament honours stalwart who died at just 28

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Pictured at the launch of the Darragh Frain Memorial Tournament which takes place in Mervue this Saturday. Back: Kevin Curran, Kevin Barrett, Robert Fitzgerald, Aidan Brady, Alan O'Donnell, Donal Murphy, Eanna O'Connell, Eoghan Frain, David Henry. Front: Aodhain Ó Conghaile, Liam O'Donnell, Rory Murphy, Fionn Fitzgerald and Michael Barrett.

The untimely passing of a city GAA stalwart six years ago is still deeply felt by the club he represented but he remains an inspiration to young up-and-coming footballers who will be displaying their skills this weekend.

The Darragh Frain Memorial Tournament for under-age teams will take place in St James’ GAA grounds at Mervue tomorrow, Saturday, when many memories of a great young clubman will be exchanged.

Darragh, from Lurgan Park in Renmore, was just 28 years of age when he lost his battle with cancer in 2016. Since then his beloved club has been organising a tournament for young footballers that’s proving immensely popular.

For tomorrow’s event, the St James club will entertain local teams including St Michael’s, Salthill-Knocknacarra, Killanin and an Cheathrú Rua, as well as Kiltane (Bangor Erris) and Elphin-Ballinameen from North Roscommon.

It is a nine-a-side tournament, which takes place from 11am to 5pm, and will involve Under-11 teams who will compete against each other during the day.

The fact that Darragh’s late father, Tom Frain Senior, hailed from Roscommon means that GAA support for the event is coming from both counties – this makes it extra special, as well as adding to the profile of the tournament.

Best friend and one of the event’s main organisers, another St James stalwart David Henry explained that this was the sixth year of the tournament and that Darragh would be very pleased that his name was being associated with the development of under-age football.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

‘Too many cafés’ as city retail continues to decline

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Barber Tom Nally outside his premises.

The changing face of Galway city centre is a source of concern to those who say it reflects a decline for people in terms of retail choices.

Those who regret the loss of several long-standing family-run operations in the city in recent years don’t believe that what has replaced them has enhanced the appearance of Shop Street, in particular.

“We are looking at a proliferation of coffee shops, bookies and mobile phone outlets in their place,” observed long-standing city centre businessman Tom Nally.

Cllr Niall McNelis agreed there were far too many coffee shops in the city centre and believed that anything that has been zoned retail by the Council should remain retail.

The Labour Councillor said a proper retail strategy needed to be adopted and some of the ‘big-name brands’ needed to be encouraged into the centre of Galway to lure shoppers into town.

Meanwhile, popular barber Tom Nally regretted the number of family operations that have ceased trading in the recent past.

“It is sad to see the long-established family businesses in the city centre going and it would be great to say that what is replacing them will enhance our streets . . . but unfortunately this is not the case,” he added.

Mr Nally who has been operating out of his High Street premises for almost 50 years, said the number of unoccupied premises in an around the city centre was a new phenomenon.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

State cracks down on quick-buck landlords

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New measures to clamp down on illegal short-term lets in the city will kick in next month, in an attempt to tackle mounting pressure on the rental market.

From September 1, sites such as Airbnb and Booking.com will no longer be allowed to advertise short-term rentals if the correct planning permission is not in place.

The measure seeks to strengthen laws introduced in 2019 which state that the use of a property for short-term letting for longer than 90 days in a rent-pressure zone requires permission from the local authority.

City Councillor Niall Murphy (Green) said the move follows on from an objection he lodged with the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI).

“The ASAI said it couldn’t be expected to police these ads so the websites like Airbnb were off the hook. But after September, they will have to ensure that those advertising on their sites have planning permission,” he said.

The proliferation of short-term lets in the city has been a contentious issue for a number of years, with scores of holiday leases available at the same time as city residents are battling it out for an extremely limited number of rental properties.

This week, almost 400 short-term lets were available on the leading website, Airbnb, while just 19 homes were up for rent on Daft.ie.

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

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