The Dough Bros fire up new ovens in a new location
Local foodies were thrown into disarray when the Dough Bros announced that they would be closing the doors of their beloved pop-up.
The wood fired pizzeria opened almost two years ago, and following a whirlwind romance with pizza lovers nationwide, the Bros have decided to shut operations on Abbeygate Street Upper ahead of a game-changing move. This week, Eugene and Ronan Greaney, the Galway brothers behind what has become one of the most popular eateries in Ireland, explained why last Sunday was the perfect time to serve the last slice… for now.
“In an ideal world, we would have liked to have stayed here because it has been an unbelievable home, and business is brilliant, but there was no long-term security here. It was very much a rolling short-term contract, and our time came to an end,” said Eugene. “In terms of leaving, I wouldn’t say it is the perfect time, there never is a perfect time. We were devastated that we had to leave, but now after doing the whole project down below, and seeing how it is looking, we can’t wait to get to show it to people and get started.”
“We couldn’t be happier with the space,” added Ronan. “Being able to design it from the ground up, we have put our heart and soul into the new place now. We have an unbelievable memories here, and ones that we will never forget, but it is definitely a project that we have absolutely loved. Now, we are looking forward to opening the doors down below, and cracking on with it.”
The pizzeria’s new location is a 30-second journey to the opposite side of Shop Street. Standing at the Dough Bros’ front door on Abbeygate Street Upper, customers will be shepherded by smell of freshly made pizza dough, and warm hearty flavours, in a straight line to the new shop, which is situated at corner of Middle Street and Abbeygate Street Lower. Replicating the atmosphere and homeliness in Unit 1, Cathedral Buildings, is now the task facing the brothers.
“When you compare this pop-up project to what we have done in the Cathedral Buildings, both have been equally as brilliant, but different,” said Eugene. “We were looking back on videos last night of when we first opened this pop-up, and it was a magical buzz, because we were so young and we had never opened a restaurant before. We didn’t know what was going to happen. We came in here, and in literally eight days, we had no money left. We started sticking up pictures, and writing chalk on the walls, just random things, like our soccer jerseys. We just wanted people to feel like they were at their friend’s house, or hanging out with their buddies.
“That has been the challenge with the design. People love the authentic, rustic thing, that we have done here. We made the furniture ourselves, or we stole some from building sites, and it is thrown together, but people like it because they can connect with it. It is authentic, and genuine, and not contrived. It is effectively a building site down here at the new location, everything from floor to ceiling that has gone in had to be new. The challenge has been trying to take what we have here to the next level, without losing the charm and character that has made this place unique, and I think we have got the balance just right. It is very much Dough Bros down there.”
In 2013, Eugene and Ronan went halves on a mobile food trailer, and that is where the Dough Bros food journey began. It was the start of something special but at the time, it was a difficult place to be. Setting up the trailer in Oranmore on a Thursday, Moycullen on Friday, Knocknacarra on Saturday, and the city centre on Sunday, the pair would be at the given location in all weather conditions. “You would want to have enough to feed the people that were coming,” said Ronan. “There was massive work in the preparation. You could be prepping all night, and it was all weather dependant.” “Next thing you open the hatch,” laughed Eugene, “and it just starts pissing rain! There was a lot of heartache.”
However, the hard work paid off immediately. “We built up a core following in those areas so when we opened up the pop-up, without any advertising, we hit the ground running. There were queues straight from the off. People were talking about the ‘guys that were at the market’. The concept of a pop-up was new at the time too, so people were like ‘what is this?’, and it just created a buzz and went from there.”
Since then, the Bros have never looked back, and have collected a host of accolades along the way including best newcomer at the Irish Restaurant Awards, best in Ireland at the McKenna Food Guide Awards, and the OMIG People’s Choice Awards in 2014. All these awards will stand the test of time, and forever be a reminder of the Dough Bros’ success, but the day-to-day interactions are the ones which the brothers cherish most.
“The awards are nice, but it is seeing the customers coming back every week, and the queue out the door,” said Eugene. “We have this American customer, and he says that he flies over from America to have our pizza. He stays for a long weekend, and he will eat here every day. It is unbelievable. One of our regular customers from Clare, John and Anne Sims, drive up from Doolin once every two weeks. Even when we had the mental storms and everyone’s advice was to stay off the roads, he still drove up, so things like that, they are the ones that have real meaning. You will never achieve those awards if you are not having an impact on people, and it is a great feeling.”
More of the same is expected at the new pizza place which opens this weekend, and Eugene and Ronan are excited about the future. “There has been too much work put in to just be worried at the end of it,” said Ronan. “We have known this day was coming for a while so we have been preparing and planning for it. When you see the space down below, you open the doors, and you’re just wowed by the inside. The warmth of the place, you’re hit with the oven. There is no doubt it is a tougher location, but the space is absolutely beautiful. There is nowhere like it in Ireland.”
The Dough Bros’ new location is Unit 1, Cathedral Buildings, Middle Street. It lies on the corner of Middle Street and Abbeygate Street Lower, opposite Gourmet Tart. The doors will officially open this Friday, and for more information, updates, and a surprise or two, search The Dough Bros on Facebook.