Boojum mastermind hungry to build new dining sensation
The man behind Belfast restaurant Boojum has announced big plans for his second venture - Bubbacue - weeks after selling off the Mexican fast food sensation.
John Blisard said he hopes to open another Bubbacue - which specialises in American-style pulled pork and beef brisket dishes and sides - in Dublin city centre in the next six months.
And the Philadelphia native said he would like to build a chain of 10 Bubbacues north and south of the border. Mr Blisard told the Belfast Telegraph he would add to the Bubbacue food offering to entice new diners. The changes will be made in its existing Belfast restaurant in Callender Street in the city centre. "We do know that our offering is very successful already for existing customers, but we do want to offer healthier alternatives."
Mr Blisard, who has lived here since marrying his Northern Irish wife Karen, successfully exported the Boojum concept of fast Mexican food like burritos and tacos to the Republic. There are now two Boojums in Dublin, one in Galway, and two in Belfast.
Belfast Telegraph restaurant critic Joris Minne said: "John Blisard has a flair for street food like nobody else. He also understands the Northern Ireland punter better than anyone. Price point, product and reliability are the three key points where he scores without fail."
Mr Blisard would not reveal how much he had sold his first restaurant creation for, but laughed off the idea that the sale announced last month to David and Andrew Maxwell - backed by Renatus Capital Partners - had made him a millionaire.
Boojum is renowned for its speedy service - and Mr Blisard said he hoped to speed up the process for serving people in Bubbacue, which is currently a table-service venue though customers do order at the counter.
Liam McAuley, a senior surveyor at GVA (NI), which has worked with Mr Blisard on identifying restaurant locations, said: "Bubbacue has been a tremendous success, starting from initially a pop-up restaurant it has gone on to be one of the most popular restaurants in Belfast city centre and continues to go from strength to strength. If the past is anything to go by, an exciting future lies ahead."