Rejuvenated Mexican eatery finds recipe to beat downturn
El Paso restaurant in Howth, which dishes out buffalo wings, steaks and fajitas to fans of Mexican food, almost became another casualty of the recession when it closed in January 2010.
However, it's more than a year now since its owner, Annraoi Blaney, reopened in a new premises – over Howth's popular Waterside Bar.
Blaney, who set up El Paso in Howth about 19 years ago, had been determined to re-open the restaurant since it shut two years ago. "I never gave up the idea that El Paso was loved by thousands of people and I could not let it die without one more try," said Blaney. "An opportunity came along to re-open El Paso in December 2011 and we have been doing very well since. A lot of our business is driven by our customer base, which is in the thousands. Old customers are arriving back for the first time explaining that they only heard last week that we had reopened."
Blaney, who has worked in the catering industry for over 30 years, decided to open his Tex-Mex restaurant in 1994. "I was very aware of food and the various trends that were out there," said Blaney. "I realised Tex-Mex is good fun – and very casual. We figured that if lots of people were getting on buses and going into town to experience it, they'd come to Howth as well."
With between 400 and 600 people eating in his restaurant a week, according to Blaney, his hunch was right – particularly on a sunny day. "Howth is a sunshine town. And when the sun shines on Howth, we get a great hit out of that."