Restaurant Profile April 2019: Church Street, Magherafelt
Roly Graham, head chef and co-owner with Adam Burgess, talks to HRNI
WHEN DID YOUR RESTAURANT OPEN?
I signed for the building April 2012. At the time, it was an art gallery downstairs and a gym upstairs so it took a bit of work putting in a kitchen and bar etc but only five weeks later, Church Street was opened. There was myself and a part-time chef in the kitchen and my partner Orlagh front of house. In July, Adam joined the team as restaurant manager. Thankfully we were very busy and, to cope with demand, we had a major refurb in 2016. I acquired the building next door and added on a further 30 seats, a cocktail garden and a two-bedroom apartment.
For me, opening my own restaurant just seemed like a natural progression. I’ve been in hospitality since I was 15 and worked hard for other people so it was time to prove I could do it myself.
TELL US ABOUT THE SPACE YOU HAVE
Church street is split over two floors with a lounge and cocktail garden to the rear.
WHAT FEEL ARE YOU AIMING FOR?
People often comment that they love the atmosphere in the restaurant, created by the right music and lighting. Adam has worked in some good restaurants and has fantastic wine knowledge so customers are always given a high level of service.
WHAT’S ON YOUR MENU?
We print our menu in-house daily, so it changes based on the best produce we can get from our suppliers. You can expect to find dishes such as local squid with garlic and lemon, or our Church Street pork plate – pork belly, fillet, black pudding and bacon cabbage.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO TO IMPROVE AND DRIVE YOUR MENU?
We often have theme nights in the restaurant; it can range from a six-course tasting evening to an afternoon tea in the garden. It’s great fun for the staff and customers.
HAVE YOU FACED ANY PARTICULAR CHALLENGES TO DATE?
When running a restaurant, there’s a new challenge every day. The hardest challenge for restaurants now is staff. We have some really good staff and I’m very thankful. Adam and I are now partners in the restaurant so it’s great to be able to share the work load.
HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR RESTAURANT DEVELOPING THIS YEAR?
The restaurant has grown year on year since first opening and last year was no different. This year we hope to develop the garden and offer an exciting new concept.
Church Street, Magherafelt
Tel: 028 7932 8083
Email: [email protected]
Sun: All day