Posted: 31/08/2020

New Northern Irish food businesses launched in response to COVID-19

New Northern Irish food businesses launched after COVID-19
Customers browse in the restaurant turned food hall French Village [picture: French Village Facebook]

The COVID-19 lockdown has been no barrier to the opening of new specialist Northern Irish food businesses.

The newly opened Granny Shaw’s Trading Post in Ballymena and pivoted French Village Food Hall on Belfast’s busy Lisburn Road have been inspired by changes in consumer habits forged by the pandemic.

French Village was one of the capital’s leading restaurants, but Ashley French, managing director, has changed the popular eatery into a food hall which now sells locally produced food and drink as well as a freshly cooked food-to-go range.

“The decision to create the new food hall is the outcome of the lockdown which halted our restaurant businesses. It’s also a response to the growth in home cooking,” said French.

Award-winning fudge makers Glen and Rhonda Houston of Granny Shaw’s Fudge have recently established Granny Shaw’s Trading Post in Ballymena to sell their handmade fudge while also adding dozens of local foods from other artisan producers.

The couple previously owned a fudge factory and visitor centre, Granny Shaw’s. “Tourism has dried up for this year and events have been postponed so we had to move to a location which offered greater numbers of shoppers to enable us to sustain our business. I’d always been keen on running my own food business so it’s a dream come true,” said Glen Houston.

Read the latest edition of Fine Food Digest here.

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