Wrights group in running to operate Dún Laoghaire’s Pavilion Cafe

Hospitality group eyes lucrative €7.7m contract to run restaurant and cafe unit

The Wrights bar and hospitality group is said to be in pole position to take over the running of the Pavilion Cafe in Dún Laoghaire’s People’s Park.

The company, which operates the Marquette food hall in Dublin Airport and several high-profile bars including Findlater’s pub and restaurant in Howth, is known to be one of the businesses on the shortlist for the contract, which is worth an estimated €7.7 million over the 60-month term.

Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) is seeking a new food service operator to occupy the restaurant and cafe unit in the People’s Park less than a year after awarding the contract to Simply Irish (SI) Cafés.

SI Cafés went into liquidation before Christmas and the unit has remained closed for the last two months. Before that it was operated by food retailer Fallon & Byrne.


“There is currently a request for tenders advertised for the provision of commercial concession to operate a cafe/bistro in People’s Park, Dún Laoghaire,” a council spokeswoman said. “This is an open tender and the deadline for interested parties is March 20th,” she said.

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After falling into disrepair, the former Victorian tea room pavilion in the People’s Park was refurbished by the council in the early 2010s, with a contemporary glass box extension added. It can seat up to 60 people and includes a cafe and outdoor seating areas.

Fallon & Byrne won the contract to run the unit in 2014 and changed its offering several times. It started off as a fine dining experience before morphing into a more casual eatery. During the pandemic it became a cafe and takeaway grocery store.

In May 2022 the council gave the tender to Simply Irish (SI) Cafés.

It is not known how many companies, other than Wrights, have expressed an interest in taking on the contract.

The Swords-headquartered Wrights group is run by Michael J Wright, a member of the Howth Wright family, who operate the separate Wrights of Howth food business.

The company, which employs up to 500 people, also operates the food hall in UCD village, the Bloody Stream pub in Howth and used to run the Wright Venue nightclub in Swords; the redeveloped site was recently sold by the company to a French investor for just under €18 million.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times