Discount retailer Dealz to open in former Epicurean Food Hall

No objections received by city council to application, which grants change of use to retail

DublinTown chief Richard Guiney said he believed Dealz would do well at its new location, but that there was also a need to increase the variety of independent shops and restaurants in the area. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

DublinTown chief Richard Guiney said he believed Dealz would do well at its new location, but that there was also a need to increase the variety of independent shops and restaurants in the area. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

The Epicurean Food Hall on Dublin’s Liffey Street, which closed earlier this year, is to reopen as a branch of discount retailer Dealz. Dublin City Council has in recent days granted planning permission for the former food hall, which occupies a large site of 868sq m, with entrances on to Liffey Street and Abbey Street, to be converted for retail use.

The council received no objections to the planning application for the store, which was lodged last June.

The Epicurean Food Hall ceased trading last March after 16 years in business. It had opened in February 2000 with the vision of being a “gourmet food hall”, with 24 open-plan units designed around a small communal seating section in the middle, with food available to sit in or take away.

The project did initially attract high-end tenants including seafood restaurateur Stephen Caviston, and although Caviston’s closed not long after the hall opened, the space was taken over by Derry Clarke and renamed C-bar, also a fish restaurant.

Other initial tenants included former Patrick Guilbaud chef Olivier Quenet specialising in French food, Stephano Crezcenzi, then private chef to the Italian ambassador, as well as Domini Kemp who opened her first Itsabagel outlet in the food hall.

The hall had become a little rundown in recent years, but did undergo a refurbishment last year. There had been some expectation locally that the revamp would sustain the food business, particularly with a recent pick-up in the restaurant trade to the north of the Ha’penny Bridge.

Nocturnal economy

Business organisation Dublin Town has recently launched a campaign to gain “Purple Flag” status for the area. Purple Flags, which are awarded by the Association of Town and City Management, recognise places that demonstrate quality in their evening and night-time economy. Dublin’s Dame District (around Dame Street) and Creative Quarter – the area to the east of George’s Street – already have Purple Flag status.

A working group, with representatives of Dublin Town, the city council, the Garda Síochána and Fáilte Ireland, as well as local businesses, has been established to develop the northside flag proposal, which would aim to grow the appeal of the area extending west from O’Connell Street as far as Capel Street in terms of its restaurants, cafes, bars, entertainment venues and retail.

DublinTown chief Richard Guiney said he believed Dealz would do well at its new location, but that there was also a need to increase the variety of independent shops and restaurants in the area.

“It is positive that the premises that has been closed for some time is coming back into use,” he said. “There is also a demand in the area for good quality independent stores, restaurants and cafes. There is a lot of that on Capel Street and there is definitely massive scope on Liffey Street to develop more of an evening and nighttime offering.”

A spokesperson for Dealz, a division of discount retailer Poundland, was not available for comment yesterday.