Last edition for Printers as cafe plans move to new site
A landmark cafe and restaurant in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter will relocate after its premises was sold to one of Northern Ireland's top chefs.
Printers in Commercial Court, which includes a Donegall Street-facing sandwich bar, has been snapped up for an undisclosed sum by the husband and wife team behind James Street South restaurant.
Niall McKenna, who is in business with his wife Joanne, revealed his plans for expansion into the Cathedral Quarter in an exclusive interview with the Belfast Telegraph last month.
Michelle Mackin Brown, the owner of Printers, revealed yesterday that her business would relocate to 25 Donegall Street.
There it would resume business as a sandwich and hot food bar with a small number of tables.
"It's another challenge for us, with a bigger sandwich bar and hot food such as gourmet pies," she said.
It would not be a formal dining experience, however.
"You just can't do fine dining in this climate," Ms Mackin-Brown said. She had witnessed changes in business dining in the 14 years in which Printers has been operating.
She said: "Business people are buying more sandwiches at lunchtime rather than going out for main meals.
"Wine is definitely out for lunchtime and we don't see business credit cards being used the way we used to."
The businesswoman said she wished the new owners, Niall and Joanne McKenna, well in their venture.
She said she aims to open a sandwich bar at the University of Ulster when the college completes its full move into Belfast.
Gavin Weir of commercial property consultants GVA NI said the McKennas' purchase indicated the continuing popularity of the Cathedral Quarter for bars and restaurants. "The Cathedral Quarter's journey from an emerging area of regeneration to the city's main night time destination is now complete much to the detriment of other locations such as The Golden Mile and The Odyssey which have suffered as a consequence."
Mr McKenna opened fine dining spot James Street South on the street of the same name in 2003.
That was followed by the neighbouring Bar + Grill in 2011 – and the business has also branched out into a cookery school.
Their new venture is close to legendary restaurant Nick's Warehouse which has been sold to Duke of York owner Willie Jack for conversion into a venue for live music.