Howth ‘institution’ Caffé Caira hangs up its frying pans

Chip shop, popular with visitors to seaside village, has been run by family for 30 years

After 30 years of dishing out fish and chips on Co Dublin’s Howth Pier, Caffè Caira is hanging up its frying pans. Image: Google Street View.

After 30 years of dishing out fish and chips on Co Dublin’s Howth Pier, Caffè Caira is hanging up its frying pans. Image: Google Street View.

 

After 30 years of dishing out fish and chips on Co Dublin’s Howth Pier, Caffè Caira is hanging up its frying pans.

The family-run business was considered an “institution” in the seaside village, renowned among locals for its quality burgers and fries.

Owner Lorenzo Caira announced the decision to close the café on Facebook this week.

“After careful consideration we have decided to close our shop as we feel it’s now time to move on in our lives,” he said. “We’d like to thank everyone who supported us over the last thirty years and apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

More than 200 people have since wished the Cairas well and expressed their disappointment under the post.

“When I saw the notice I was gobsmacked,” local councillor Larry O’Toole said. The Sinn Féin politician, a regular visitor to the shop, said he was sorry to see the town lose a “propper chipper”.

“It was an institution and I’m sure it will be well missed in Howth.”

Mr O’Toole said he hoped someone else would want to open a small business there, “perhaps another little chip shop”.

“Dublin is changing and sometimes not for the best. When you lose an institution like this it feels like some of the fabric of the city is being lost,” he added.

Long queues

Howth has three chippers that each draw long queues during the summer months. But Caffè Caira won the hearts of locals, according to Lisa Larkin (50).

She said that in the tight-knit village it can be hard to fit in, but when the Italian restaurateurs moved in everyone was “starstruck” by the food they introduced.

“I didn’t have Chinese until I was about 18. We certainly wouldn’t have had battered or fried fish,” she said, adding that the café was a “real local” place that the village loved to support.

“Lorenzo and his family went out of their way to get to know people.”

Typically not a fan of chips, Ms Larkin said she made an exception for Caffè Caira. “Their chips were the only ones I would eat.”

Martin Magee (47), who grew up within walking distance of the chipper, said the news was “an awful shame”.

“Other fish and chips shops have come along, but there was a sense of community about Caira..Evrybody knows them,” he said. “The chips weren’t soaked through with oil like other chips. You can’t find that elsewhere.”