Dylan McGrath denies he intends to turn €1.4m restaurant into pub
MASTERCHEF judge Dylan McGrath told a judge today he has no intention of turning his €1.4 million new restaurant in Dublin’s Fade Street into a "public house."
Although he is fighting for a full seven-day public house license for the new restaurant, Fade Street Social, he told Judge Matthew Deery the restaurant would fail if he only tried to run it as a pub.
Mr McGrath told the Circuit Civil Court that while he had a number of "bars" built into Fade Street Social they would be used as bars where customers could sit on stools to have their food and drinks - as well as formally at tables.
He told the court, where his full public house license application is being challenged by neighbouring competitors, that he had designed his restaurants on two floors of the former bacon curing factory, as something unique.
The ‘Masterchef’ judge, who owns other restaurants, said he wanted to take advantage of his name and reputation. He would employ about 60 people including 25 chefs who would operate in teams of 7 or 8.
He told Ms Cassidy that the interactivities of chefs with customers seated along service and dining bars would become part of the ambiance and energy of the room.
"In my ground floor restaurant and kitchens I want to celebrate our Irishness that would include culture cooking by the oldest method known to man, wood burning," he said. "I have already paid €18,000 for an old wood-burning oven from Italy."
Mr McGrath said that while he had included a room with a bar it would be used as a holding area where customers who had reserved tables could sit on sofas and chairs or stand and the bar and have drinks while they waited for their tables to be prepared.
He said a restaurant without a holding area for customers to wait while tables were being rotated just would not work as he had proved in an earlier restaurant of his that did not have one and had gone bankrupt.
He agreed with Eamon Galligan, SC , who appeared for a group of four objectors, that the holding room was a place that "a few friends returning from a match could stand and have a few pints" while awaiting their order.
Mr McGrath told Mr Galligan he hoped to have a "soft opening" only with family and friends this coming Saturday and to have a full opening within weeks. He agreed he already had a "wine on premises" license.
When asked if his lease of the premises was conditional on him obtaining a seven days public house license he said he had been told he required a "specific license."
Planning Consultant Eamon Kelly said that to the ordinary person the lay-out could seem to be more like a pub than a restaurant. He said there had been a number of changes to the plans that had been initially laid before the court.
He said a basement keg store was not consistent with the terms of the planning permission and a proposed theatre-events area had been dropped from the original plans.
The hearing continues today.