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New Mexican restaurant in Belfast to be opened by Snow Patrol members


Gary Lightbody and Nathan Connolly

Gary Lightbody and Nathan Connolly

Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol in Belfast this summer

Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol in Belfast this summer

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Gary Lightbody and Nathan Connolly

Two members of Snow Patrol are to open a new Mexican restaurant in south Belfast, it can be revealed.

Lead singer Gary Lightbody and guitarist Nathan Connolly will be involved in the project that will see Belfast Taco Cartel operate on the Ormeau Road.

The restaurant is yet to set an official opening date, but a source did confirm to the Belfast Telegraph that the project was going ahead, providing planning permission and licences are granted.

Permission to allow the sale of alcohol on the premises will go before the County Court on Friday.

A public notice has been put in the window of the proposed location ahead of the court appearance.

The two rock stars, who come back home to Northern Ireland this weekend for two massive concerts at the SSE Arena, will work with four other directors including one of the country's top chefs.

Andy Rea from the popular Mourne Seafood Bar restaurant and Home in Belfast city centre is on board.

Mr Rea worked in America before returning to the province.

Joe Goudie is the general manager at La Taqueria on Castle Street. It specialises in Mexican cuisine and has built up a positive reputation since opening a couple of years ago.

It's head chef Adam Lynas as well as Stephen Haller are also advertised as directors.

The business was first registered as a private company in July this year.

It is set to be added to the list of a number of Mexican-themed eateries that have popped up in the city in recent years.

Burrito bar Boojum operates across the island of Ireland, with other names such as El Chapo, Acapulco and Bad Ass Burrito becoming more and more popular with Belfast clientele.

Restaurant critic Joris Minne praised Andy Rea for his work in the city's hospitality sector so far.

He said the Belfast Cookery School chef has a "great commercial eye". He said: "Andy is one of the most innovative people in the business.

"He's been working from around the time of Paul Rankin.

"Belfast has a good array of street food, priced mid-range, and that's really what the city is all about."

Asked whether he thinks the musical link will help garner popularity, the critic said: "Good food is now just as popular as fashion or music. It's sure to be a success."

Other locations on the Ormeau Road are currently in the pipeline to house accommodation as well as hospitality businesses.

The former Ballynafeigh police station is expected to be transformed into apartments, while Holy Rosary church is lined up to become an Italian restaurant.

It has lain vacant for around 40 years. Fratelli's, based on Great Victoria Street, is expected to open the new eatery.

It is not yet known what role Lightbody and Connolly will play concerning the daily operations of their restaurant.

When contacted by the Belfast Telegraph regarding the opening, one of the directors declined to comment.

Snow Patrol released their seventh studio album back in May.

Their 'Wildness' tour kicks off tomorrow night in Newcastle before making its way to Belfast on Friday and Saturday.

A show at Dublin's 3Arena next Tuesday caps off the Irish leg of the tour.

Lightbody opened up this year about his mental health struggles as well as battling an alcohol addiction. He has been sober now for two years.

Next year the band celebrates its 25th anniversary after a successful career which has included playing two outdoor gigs at Bangor's Ward Park.

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