When you walk into the Liberty Grill, you are struck by the happy buzz. It is full again this Friday evening (we started at 6.45pm), all enjoying the good food, well cooked, well presented and served by a smashing staff.

A share of people are dining en famille. Don’t come across it much around town. The well behaved kids are well catered for here; they even get their food ahead of the adults.

Are you to limited to burgers and chips here? No. Far from it. There is a huge menu in this early 'til late venue. Burgers for sure, all made from the best local produce. Then there are tempting salads, fish, poultry, lamb and beef along with vegetarian dishes. Something for everyone.

Started with a Southern Fried Chicken salad: slices of southern fried chicken on a bed of
seasonal leaves with Jalapeño peppers, toasted cashews and tomato salsa. The advisor enjoyed the Deep Fried Cambozola (Italian cheese) with a cranberry coulis. Mine cost €7.95, hers €4.95. Promising start.

 My main dish was the Tennessee Flambé (17.95). This consisted of tender medallions of the very best beef, peppered and flambéed in a shot of Jack Daniels and served with mushrooms, sweet balsamic onions and crispy garlic potatoes. This was absolutely brilliant, couldn't recommend it highly enough.

The other main course at the table was a Salad Niçoise (14.95), a truly healthy and tasty mix of line caught yellow fin tuna, potatoes, hardboiled eggs, olives, French beans and seasonal salad leaves. This was quite a substantial dish and lived up to the description.

 There is an adequate selection of wines available, most between twenty and thirty euro, though the house wine costs just €17.25 (4.65 per glass). There was also a Wine of the Month available at 5.25 a glass. I enjoyed my Montemartel Cotes du Rhone (Syrah, Grenache and Carignan) very much.

 But the white, a Claire Moreau Muscadet Sur Lie, was a really gripping drink and you needed only the tiniest drop to become aware of the quality. Both wines are available at the Wine Buff, just across the road. You also have a number of sparkling wines available and a popular feature is the non-alcoholic Mocktail, a favourite with kids and adults alike.

Overall, the choice and the value are fantastic (through breakfast, brunch, lunch and evening) and you really need to check out the website to get the picture. Even then, you won't see the bunch of seasonal dishes that are added every month.

Denis O’Mullane and Marianne Delaney own and operate the Liberty and also the nearly Cafe Gusto (another interesting venue for coffee and lighter bites).

We asked Denis how the name came about and what it signified in food terms.
 “It is actually a shortened version of our first shot which was ‘Liberty Belle Cafe and Grill’. After seeing the room with its large windows and dark furniture, we knew we were going to do an American East Coast Neighbourhood restaurant, where grilled foods make a rather large part of the menu.”

BL: Who are the key players?
Denis: “Our customers, staff and suppliers.  Our customers for their loyalty and critical honesty. Our staff who work extremely hard and who have the unenviable job of starting from scratch everyday to ensure most honest product possible without a lot of shortcuts. Finally our suppliers who have to listen to us moaning if the quality isn’t right.”

BL: You must be pleased with your Bridgestone listing? 
Denis:  To be honest I feel a little uneasy about professional reviews as Liberty Grill is a neighbourhood restaurant which can be found on every block in major cities in the US, with a very simple function to feed from dawn to dusk.  An eminent restaurateur on our street queried whether being a member of Good Food Ireland sets expectations which don’t marry with what we are doing, we are currently considering our position.

BL: What of the future?
Denis: Cork is actually buzzing on the food front with most restaurants doing pretty well. I think with a little more co-operative effort, we have an interesting couple of years ahead.