Restaurant Profile April 2017: Oliver’s, Newtownards Road, Belfast
At almost one-year old Oliver’s on the Newtownards Road has worked its way into the local community’s heart
WHEN DID YOUR RESTAURANT OPEN?
We opened the doors on Friday the 13th of May 2016, coming up to our 1st Birthday. Peter Oliver McCloskey the owner and renowned barber wanted to expand his empire ranging from barber shops, coffee houses to restaurants.
TELL US ABOUT THE SPACE YOU HAVE.
The restaurant has a capacity of over 45 seats and has a beautiful open brick layout with portraits (Shawcross), a wood burning stove for cold nights and a green safe built in 1857! We have a lovely long wooden pippy oak bench table to hold parties of 10 and we also use it for our cocktail schools, which has been very popular since I launched them back in July 2016. The Restaurant itself has held private events such as Direct Wine Shipments wine dinners and Jawbox Gin Nights (Gerry White)
WHAT FEEL ARE YOU AIMING FOR?
We are aiming for a modern, fresh feel and add to the heartbeat of Ballyhackamore. We aim to develop this area as I believe it has produced fantastic restaurants and we want to be seen in the aid to increase the reputation of Ballyhackamore.
WHAT’S ON YOUR MENU AND WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT?
We use as much local produce as possible from local suppliers such as Ewings Seafoods, Abernethy Butter, Still Water Fishery & Carnbrooke Meats. Inspirations come from peers of successful local restaurants and Ideas infused with different methods of cooking. The menu itself wants to showcase what great local produce we have in Northern Ireland and Ireland as a whole.
DOES YOUR MENU CHANGE OFTEN?
The menu changes in accordance with the seasons and with the availability of local produce.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO TO IMPROVE AND DRIVE YOUR MENU? Our suppliers, not just the food, but drink suppliers also work very closely with us to be able to train the staff on knowledge of local products. We take on board feedback and never brush customer opinion under the table in turn this helps the business establish consumer needs and wants.
WHAT IS YOUR FOOD SOURCING POLICY?
We are always in conversations with our local suppliers to have in the freshest produce. They are able to forecast their produce on what is in season and able to help us use the finest ingredients on the market.
WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS?
The majority of our customers would be locals from East Belfast. In terms of age range we’ve got a good mix from young professionals to the older generations. However, we do have a good range of customers who travel from far to be here, working closely with Stormont Hotel, we tend to have tourists who enjoy to dine in this area.
HAVE YOU FACED ANY PARTICULAR CHALLENGES TO DATE?
Location would be a minor challenge as we are further up slightly from the heart of Ballyhackamore, although it can also benefit us as we have more space for parking.
HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR RESTAURANT STAND OUT FROM COMPETITORS?
As mentioned we hold a cocktail school that no other business around the area does. It offers a fun and experience for our guests. It gives an education to our guests about the local products Northern Ireland has to offer.
HOW WAS TRADE OVER THE PAST YEAR?
From the word go we have encountered ups and downs but we used the negatives and turned them into positives, for instance the layout of the menu changed, opening times, drinks lists, competition in the area changing, the list continues but I think it’s healthy to try new things, if it doesn’t work learn from them and move forward. The business is now at a steady pace but of course we know being so young there’s so much more to learn and with being nominated with the Irish Restaurant Awards 2017 we hope to be recognised more within the industry and continue to help Northern Ireland be recognised in the culinary experience.
HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR RESTAURANT DEVELOPING THIS YEAR?
We hope to strive for more development, we like to try new things to help promote the restaurant. We will be re designing the restaurant to hold more covers so we can increase capacity for our most popular times. Develop our menus such as a new set menu to give more offers to the customers which will be a set menu which will be a 2 or 3 course option and a bottle of wine.
Mon: Closed, Tues-Thurs: 12-3pm & 5-9pm, Fri & Sat: 12-3pm & 5-10pm, Sun: 12-3pm & 5-8.30pm
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