Kitchens around Mullingar are heating up as the town’s restaurants are bracing themselves for what may be the busiest week in their history.
Business owners are rising to the challenge and have been scrambling to get things right over the last few weeks, none more so than Red Earth.
The restaurant is located at the Mullingar Business Park, a stones throw away from the festival and is hugely popular with locals.
The team are excited to show what they can produce to visitors for the Fleadh, a festival they describe as “like no other”.
“Our team has been busy preparing for the fleadh and hope to offer great tasting food and a fun atmosphere for Fleadh goers and our regular customers.
“Our aim for the week is deliver a good experience to our customers,” says Manager Lisa Collins.
There’s something for everyone at Red Earth, as they offer food from around the globe such as Mexican, Asian, American and of course, all the home favourites.
“There will be something for everyone,” says Lisa.
“If you are hungry enough for a crispy chipotle burger and chips or want a light bite like a salad or sandwich and a glass of wine or cold beer, we are offering enough for all to enjoy.
“Our food trucks are available outside along with picnic benches and cool chill out tipi areas as well as a more formal dining experience and in our garden dining space.”
Head chef Ajith is also looking forward to satisfying hungry customers, he has recommended some of his specialities to visitors: the Saigon beef, Singapore noodles, Thai chicken curry and the stir fry chicken cashew dish.
Red Earth Lifestyle Store and Restaurant opened its doors 10 years ago, but its parent company has been operation for 35 years locally.
They also own Genesis fine arts which is producing a commemorative souvenir for the ‘Homecoming’ and are the brains behind famous town landmarks such as the Joe Dolan statue and the Austin Friar Monks.
Hundreds of seats are available between their large indoor and outdoor areas and they serve all day long, “breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner”.
Lisa concluded that the team are currently very busy in their preparations to ensure a “good atmosphere for regulars and visitors” for what’s sure to be a great event.
The Spiced Bean Café
The Spiced Bean Café, located on Mary’s Street in the centre of Mullingar town, is a hot spot for locals. Indeed, it has an extremely loyal flock of regulars who can’t seem to get enough of its sandwiches, soups and hot drinks.
Having been in business 25 years, owners Aidan and Delia Mulligan represent everything great about local business owners.
They know exactly what people want, they’re good craic and are very proud to call Mullingar their home.
While famous for their food they are also accustomed to famous visitors – President Michael D. Higgins is just one of a number of famous faces to have visited the charming café over the years.
Aidan says that he’s done his research on how to satisfy fleadh-goers having visited cafés in the last host town, Drogheda, to get the inside scoop on how it’s done.
“Things are going to be completely different. We’re used to our business being 90% from regular customers and that won’t be the case for the Fleadh, most of them are gone on holiday!
“Usually we have hot meals, lasagne, quiches, and that sort of thing, but we won’t be doing that for the Fleadh. We have to adapt.
“We’re going to have a stripped-back menu, where we’ll have salad bowls, filled baguettes, baps and paninis. It’s going to be scaled back and takeout only, our current eat-in area will be used completely for making up orders.”
Aidan says he hopes that businesses don’t raise their prices for the week as he would like to see people returning after having a nice cost-friendly visit to Mullingar during the few days.
“We won’t be raising our prices; everything will be the same. It’s tough enough out there for a lot of people, so that’s the last thing we want to do.
“I’d hate for people to come down for a few days and leave thinking Mullingar is a rip off!”
Wholesome Kitchen on Dominick Street in the town centre has only been around since 2019 but has since become one of the landmark destinations in the town, thanks to its healthy food and modern design.
The family-run business is owned by David Quirke and Denise Buckley, they say what they do is simple: “We happen to make healthy food very tasty.
“Our food is all made from scratch by our talented chefs, including all of our homemade sauces. We make healthy food delicious in our own unique ‘takeaway style’.
“We’ve a large selection of homecooked meals, Asian wok-style dishes, smoothies and desserts – all homemade by us. We’ve been waiting to host the Fleadh for the last couple of years and can’t wait to meet all of the visitors to Mullingar throughout this week.”
The restaurant has 100 seats available in the centre of town and will be opening another point of sale at its rear entrance on Grove Street, near the GigRig in Blackhall.
“The volume of visitors in Mullingar for this week is something the town hasn’t seen before,” says David.
“We’ve worked really hard to prepare our teams and we’ve simplified everything so that we can give Fleadh customers the experience that they’re looking for.”
He added that the system will be as straightforward as possible to try keep up with the demands.
“We do have a large menu which consists of lots of delicious homemade starters, mains and desserts. However, for the week of the Fleadh we do have a reduced menu and this is to ensure that customers can get their food and drink very quickly.”
Wholesome Kitchen prides itself on its vegan friendliness also, so there’s something for everybody.
David says they can’t wait to “greet everyone with a friendly smile” and that if you’re paying them a visit, you might as well pop into their newly opened sister store/chocolate factory, Sugar Plum Sweetery – located right next door.