Nestled away in the top corner of New Square, Mitchelstown is the Market Place restaurant. It awaits illuminated by the morning sun. The day is bright, but crisp, so I am delighted with the hot pot of tea that meets me inside.
It is just about 10am when I sit down to speak with owner John O’Connor. The breakfast crowd is in full swing now, there is a little hustle and bustle, but the atmosphere is still relaxed and calm, perfect for the first half of the day.
As two full Irish breakfasts are served, John comments that the Market Place didn’t always do breakfast, but they found that the demand was there and began serving them a few years ago. The breakfast menu drawn up proved to be popular and that began the Market Place’s current schedule of breakfast, lunch and dinner served seven days week.
For all those looking for a little help over the mid-week slump, on Wednesday evening the popular restaurant runs a special deal of two curries for €20. On Thursday, to get the weekend started early, there are two steaks with all the trimmings for €30. Friday night is cocktails and nibbles, which always draws a crowd.
John has worked in the catering industry his whole life. He has a place in Limerick that he opened prior to the Market Place. Despite this venture, he still had the itch to open up a restaurant in his home town.
“It was always my intention to open up here. Mitchelstown is where I am from, I went to school here. It was probably a big risk opening in 2011, but it has paid off, trade has really improved over the last few years. The business has gone from strength to strength.”
Compliments for the Market Place have increased under chef Glenn, who has proved to be a hit with customers. Originally from New Zealand, Glenn has worked in London in Michelin Star restaurants and has brought innovation and consistency to the Market Place.
The restaurant is very keen on using local produce and stocks beers from local brewery Eight Degrees. There is ample free parking outside, so why not go along and try it out?