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Sunday 21 January 2018

Top-ranked restaurateur expected to leave Dublin

Ryan is to quit Town Bar and Grill

Sunday Independent Reporter

Celebrity restaurateur Ronan Ryan is set to leave Dublin's Town Bar and Grill restaurant, after failing to buy the business from owners Treasury Holdings.

The Tipperary-born chef is expected to quit the award-winning restaurant in the coming weeks, although he says he is still considering his options.

Meanwhile, it is understood that Gillian Ronan, the sister of Treasury Holdings boss Johnny Ronan and a successful businesswoman in her own right, is the most likely candidate to take over at the Kildare Street restaurant.

As a source close to the restaurant explained: "Nothing has been signed yet and Ronan Ryan has yet to hand in his resignation, so the truth is that anything can happen."

But speaking this weekend, Ryan confirmed that he had received several offers and was relishing a new beginning.

"It's been a long process since we were in trouble and I guess it's just time to move on and make a fresh start again now," he said.

"To be honest, I'm quite looking forward to it. I've had a few phone calls this past week and there have been a few ideas put to me, so I'm not daunted by the prospect."

He met with directors of the company last Wednesday and was informed that he had been outbid by another prospective investor.

It is understood that Ryan was among about half-a-dozen bidders who wished to purchase the restaurant.

However, Ms Ronan is believed to have bid in the region of €500,000 to purchase the business.

She is a well-known figure on Dublin's social scene and friends describe her as "outgoing, with a strong business sense and extremely well-connected" among Dublin's social elite.

Speaking about the change of ownership, Ryan said: "All the staff and the chef will still remain on there and the menu will stay the same. I'm sure they'll bring a few new ideas to the table too."

He described 2009 as "the worst imaginable year for me personally", following the closure of the sister restaurant the South Bar and Grill.

But Treasury Holdings boss Johnny Ronan invested €500,000 in the struggling restaurant to ensure that it remained open for business.

Now, two years on, Ryan, who is in a long-term relationship with television presenter Pamela Flood, is set to spread his wings once more.

"I want to be back in business as soon as possible because I have personal guarantees that I have to carry with me for the next seven years -- to the tune of about €175,000.

"But I love the job, it's a passion. So once I get back into it, I won't find it stressful.

"You know what they say," he laughs, "life begins at 40."

When contacted, a spokesperson for Treasury Holdings stated: "Treasury Holdings intends to sell Town Bar and Grill and a number of bidders are in the frame for consideration.

"No decision whatsoever has been taken by Treasury as to who the business will be sold to.

"Ronan Ryan continues to manage the business -- there is no change in the current status quo."

Sunday Independent

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