The heir to Nick's throne
Profile: Niall McKenna
As one Cathedral Quarter door closes, another might be opening.
Nick Price, owner and chef at Nick's Warehouse in the Cathedral Quarter, last week confirmed he was selling up to Willie Jack, the owner of nearby pub the Duke of York. The building will be converted into a live music venue.
Food critic John McKenna – co-author of John and Sally McKennas' Guides – praised Mr Price.
"His contribution to eating is unmatched... Frankly, he deserves a knighthood and, of course, a damehood for his wife Cathy."
But now it emerges that Niall McKenna is expanding and has been eyeing premises in the Cathedral Quarter, close to those soon to be vacated by Mr Price. Niall McKenna's expansion was described by John McKenna (no relation) as "great news".
"He's one of the best restaurateurs and, we can see from OX (set up by his former head chef Stephen Toman), he inspires his team.
"Mind you, that has always characterised the best Northern kitchens, from Nick and Paul Rankin and Michael Deane – they all teach great teams to emulate them.
"But it's certainly a sign of the maturity of Belfast's culinary scene that newcomers like OX get celebrated so fast, and that Niall is developing."
Niall McKenna also paid tribute to Mr Price as the latter prepares to leave the building he has occupied for 24 years.
"He's been in the game so long and now he's going to go out with a smile on his face. He's an absolute gentleman, and fair deal to him."