Belfast restaurant 'on tough street' closes its doors
High overheads and a difficult location in Belfast city centre are being blamed for the closure of a popular restaurant - just over a year after it opened.
The Beringer, which was opened as The Permit Room last year by Howard Street restaurant owners Niall Davies and Marty Murphy, is set to serve up food for one last time today. Mr Davies told the Belfast Telegraph that while the "product wasn't strong enough", he believed "deprivation" in the local area created further challenges.
He said: "The restaurant was definitely popular and feedback was so positive, which is probably why I kept it going for so much longer than I should have.
"I was waiting on things turning a corner and they never did.
"It's a tough street. Shortly after we opened, the side door to Primark was closed, giving no real reason for people to walk down that part of Fountain Street.
"There is drug use and homelessness everywhere and I know some of the other businesses in the area are feeling the impact of that.
"It's clear that there is drug dealing and heroin use going on in Castle Street and something needs to be done about that," continued Mr Davies, whose final evening service tonight is fully booked.
The Beringer changed its name from the Permit Room just in time for its first birthday earlier this year following a reported dispute with a UK restaurant chain.
It is popular for its baked egg dishes and flatbreads and when it opened, Belfast Telegraph food critic, Joris Minne, praised the venue for cornering an otherwise absent brunch market here.
Mr Davies said: "We are booked up tonight but all day today will be walk-in... so if you fancy tasting our shakshuka baked eggs, signature flatbreads, chilli beef or Bloody Mary's one last time we'll be here from 10am."
When he was asked whether he would consider transferring the business model to another part of the city, Mr Davies said: "There is always stuff in the pipeline."