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Not to be outfoxed: Historic pub scales new heights to carry on feeding the public

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Kaitlin McMahon from Johnnie Fox's pub in Glencullen with food for delivery.  Picture; Gerry Mooney

Kaitlin McMahon from Johnnie Fox's pub in Glencullen with food for delivery. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Shauna Mullen sits in an empty lounge as she takes orders online for food from Johnnie Fox's pub in Glencullen.  Picture; Gerry Mooney

Shauna Mullen sits in an empty lounge as she takes orders online for food from Johnnie Fox's pub in Glencullen. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Recipe for success: Chef Jiri Pesak prepares food for delivery from Johnnie Fox’s pub. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Recipe for success: Chef Jiri Pesak prepares food for delivery from Johnnie Fox’s pub. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Kaitlin McMahon from Johnnie Fox's pub in Glencullen delivers food to Patricia Fitzachary Picture; Gerry Mooney

Kaitlin McMahon from Johnnie Fox's pub in Glencullen delivers food to Patricia Fitzachary Picture; Gerry Mooney

Chef Jiri Pesak prepares food for delivery from Johnnie Fox's pub in Glencullen.  Picture; Gerry Mooney

Chef Jiri Pesak prepares food for delivery from Johnnie Fox's pub in Glencullen. Picture; Gerry Mooney

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Kaitlin McMahon from Johnnie Fox's pub in Glencullen with food for delivery. Picture; Gerry Mooney

For only the second time in more than two centuries, patrons can no longer enjoy a meal and a drink at Ireland's "highest" pub, this time due to Covid-19.

But that hasn't stopped the owners of Johnnie Fox's pub in Glencullen from bringing its fare down from the Dublin mountains.

The popular pub and restaurant has been in operation since 1798 and the only time it was forced to close its doors was for three days during the 'Beast from the East' blizzard in 2018.

But instead of just shuttering its doors, the establishment set up its 'at home' delivery service on April 9. And it is now delivering around 100 partially cooked chilled meals a day that customers finish off at home.

For a nominal €3.50 delivery charge to anywhere in Dublin, Bray and Enniskerry, patrons have been ordering bottles of beer and wine and "family comfort food" favourites like beef and Guinness pie and chowder - all while adhering to social-distancing guidelines, according to business manager Kaitlin McMahon.

Whether it's for people who are growing tired of their own cooking and cleaning during the lockdown or couples who want a special 'date night' meal, the concept is not only keeping the business afloat during these challenging times, it's keeping people in their jobs, she said.

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Still working: Shauna Mullen sits in an empty lounge as she takes orders online for food from Johnnie Fox’s pub in Glencullen. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Still working: Shauna Mullen sits in an empty lounge as she takes orders online for food from Johnnie Fox’s pub in Glencullen. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Still working: Shauna Mullen sits in an empty lounge as she takes orders online for food from Johnnie Fox’s pub in Glencullen. Photo: Gerry Mooney

"The whole purpose is to keep people in employment."

While 74 staff are no longer working at the pub while normal operations are on hold, 11 are currently employed in the takeaway service, with another 12 due to join them later this week.

The lack of traffic means it takes less than half-an-hour to drive from Glencullen to Dublin 1, she said.

"And the further out we get, the more staff we can bring in," she added.

And to allay any fears the public may have over inadvertently contracting the virus from takeaway food, Ms McMahon said the chefs prepare food wearing face masks, face shields, skin-tight gloves and sterile uniforms along with practising regular hand-washing. Food is placed in sterile, sealed containers and chilled while a delivery person leaves it on the customer's doorstep and walks away.

Meanwhile, The Brock Inn, in Broughan, north Co Dublin, is also running a drive-through meal service in which staff push pre-ordered meals down a chute where drivers pull up and retrieve their food all while observing social distancing rules.

Irish Independent


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