Monday, August 1, 2022

The Granary Foodstore & Cafe Feeding Midleton For 26 Years

The Granary Foodstore & Cafe

Serving Midleton For 26 Years

Chicken & Bacon Salad. And that magic mayo!

Midleton’s family-friendly Granary has been a popular foodstore and café in the East Cork town for some 26 years but these last few have been among the toughest according to Jack O’Sullivan who runs the family business. The Granary model, based on simple homestyle Irish cooking, has stood the test of time as was confirmed by the queues for lunch when I called last week.

After the warm welcome, we had a look at the menu boards, gave our order and picked a seat inside though quite a few were also dining outside in the square. The menu offered a Sweet Potato and Courgette Soup, a selection of salads, an open brown bread sandwich with a choice of meats, various other sandwiches and a Quiche of the Day. Lots of sweet stuff too by the way!


My choice was the Warm Chicken and Bacon salad with Lime and Sweet Chilli mayo. The packed bowl soon arrived at table #6. No shortage of top quality chicken and lots of tasty bacon bits, a bunch of potato wedges, coleslaw and magnificent salad with juicy tomatoes; the Lime and Sweet Chill Mayo enhanced the ensemble. An amazing mayo and very popular I’m told; indeed I could have eaten that on its own with a spoon, just delicious. And all went well at the other side of the table as CL enjoyed her excellent Quiche (Goats cheese, Sun-dried tomatoes and Spinach) and salad.

A new coffee
And all the while customers were coming in, some to dine here, others to buy a readymade meal for the evening, others for a coffee and cake and so on. We had been looking at the shelves of the Foodstore and took a closer look after lunch. No shortage of frozen meals to take home and our purchases included a couple of cartons of Beef Stroganoff and a pack of a new East Cork Coffee (produced by a well-known chocolatier), and a (very) Fiery Ginger Beer by Black Castle.

The ethos here has always been simple, homestyle Irish cooking  using local & Irish producers  and suppliers. The Foodstore is packed with homemade ready meals, cakes, wines and cheese. They also sell a large selection of Irish made sweets and treats (including pastries from the local Pana Bread).

Inside the Granary. (Granary pic)

The beginnings were small but The Granary has developed into a fine family business, a much loved one, and Jack’s goal is to improve it but “still using the home style of cooking”.

It was his mother Eleanor who started the business. When she opened the door for the first time, the punters started coming. That was in the original premises, nearer the distillery. It was in an old grain store, and that’s where the name came from.

The Granary in the square

Eleanor started off in her Granary making ready-made meals and baking, all done in the kitchen. It went very well indeed but, nonetheless, ten years later, it was a bold move to the new development on the square, taking on a much bigger premises, the aim being to keep on doing the same, still more of a food shop than a sit-down cafe.

Bit by bit though, the ready-made sales started to slip and so the decision was made to make the restaurant, serving simple meals, the main focus. Jack, with limited opportunities in his chosen profession of quantity surveyor, was now on board.

“We were the first to do breakfast in the town. It took off well ... For lunch and (now Saturday) brunch, we have some very regular customers, the same faces. It is great to look after them, they are fantastic. Loyalty is important and it works both ways. Honesty is another quality here, another important factor for us.”

While the ethos is simple enough, it has allowed them to switch the focus as when the demand for items from the Foodstore dropped. And, when Covid hit, and indoor dining was out of the question, they were quickly able to switch back to make the Foodstore their main outlet.

The last few years have been among the toughest according to Jack O’Sullivan who now runs the business and he reckons some food businesses are not out of the Covid woods just yet. Yet the Grainstore marches on with a smile serving simple yet excellent local food.

  • The Granary, in the heart of the town, is open from 8.30am Tuesday to Saturday. And, if you are in on Saturday, you’ll find a very tempting Brunch Menu available until 3.00pm! And, if you have a party coming up, they also do a catering menu.
  • Lots of tempting pics on their Instagram here
  • And updates on Facebook here  

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