Restaurant Profile February 2017: Dormans, Magherafelt
Head chef Dean Coppard talks to HRNI about the legacy of Dorman's and putting a distinct Australian stamp on the menu...
Dean Coppard, head chef Dorman's, Magherafelt
WHEN DID YOUR RESTAURANT OPEN?
It first opened in 1905 and since has grown and evolved, most recently after an extensive refurbishment and a substantial investment from Henry and Teresa McGlone in 2016. It is now in it’s fourth generation with Henry and Teresa’s sons Conor and Ryan being involved more closely. I was appointed Head Chef in October.
TELL US ABOUT THE SPACE YOU HAVE.
The bar features dark wooden elements with deep reds and greens, it is a very open space. Modern touches include original art pieces that pay homage to sporting greats from the past and present, which are always a talking point with customers.
WHAT FEEL ARE YOU AIMING FOR?
My aim as Head Chef is to create food that will not only meet our customers expectations but to exceed any preconceptions of gastro pub food.
WHAT’S ON YOUR MENU AND WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT?
We are in the process of rolling out our new menu in the upcoming weeks. We are inspired to always utilize local produce and in Mid-Ulster we have many fantastic local suppliers such as Clearwater Farm were we get our beef. Our Signature Dormans’ Burger and pie use this. As an Aussie we are known to love a good pie, as do the people of Mid Ulster so my aim is create the best pie in Northern Ireland, the kind of pie that reminds you of one your granny would have made – perfect!
DOES YOUR MENU CHANGE OFTEN?
It will change according to what I can source locally but there are some key dishes that never come of the menu – our customers simply wouldn’t let it happen! Our Specials change on a daily basis and it’s a great way to inspire the rest of the kitchen team, Calum and Elaine who add their flare to the menu and love to create new dishes. Tasting time is a favourite time for all the team.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO TO IMPROVE AND DRIVE YOUR MENU?
We are lucky to be surrounded by loughs and rural farming communities, so we’re really going to push hard on sourcing locally and informing our customers about the local suppliers available on their doorstep. I’m also lucky enough to be featured on Tv3’s now ‘The Six O’clock Show’ which gives us a great chance to showcase exactly what we do here at Dormans.
WHAT IS YOUR FOOD SOURCING POLICY?
As Head Chef with so many great artisan producers coming to the forefront as part of FoodNI’s Year of Food and Drink I am on a mission to showcase and support as much of these amazing suppliers as possible. My team and I want to learn as much as we can about our suppliers and educate our Front of House team on the suppliers as well so they fully understand the menu too.
WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS?
Overall, it can be defined in two demographics – during the week we serve mostly families and business lunches whilst at the weekend it is a mix of families, friends and sports fans.
HAVE YOU FACED ANY PARTICULAR CHALLENGES TO DATE?
Brexit is a challenge. The whole situation has led to some uncertainty and has affected the price of some items. We’ve really had to adapt and try and diversify in our sourcing and buying.
HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR RESTAURANT STAND OUT FROM COMPETITORS?
I think what Dormans offers is truly unique, the people and the atmosphere come to life.
HOW WAS TRADE OVER THE PAST YEAR?
The bar was closed for refurbishment for the in Spring 2016 and reopened August, however in this time the kitchen team assisted in our sister bar Mary’s Bar. Dormans has been trading for five months, with me at the helm for three months with continuous growth. Our team is extremely driven in all parts of the business, we want to see growth each month and we want to continue to be the best.
HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR RESTAURANT DEVELOPING THIS YEAR?
As a group we are extremely ambitious, customer satisfaction is pivotal to everything we do. We will be introducing new menus and dining options. The latest string to our bow was the opening of our Gourmet Burger Bar, a few minutes walk from Dormans. With award season coming up we have our sights on adding some more accolades.
Address: 15 Queen St, Magherafelt
Tel: 028 7963 1194
Facebook, Instagram & Twitter: @dormansbar
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