James Street South owner and award-winning chef. Niall McKenna is to open a new cookery school in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter later this year.
Niall, who picked up the award for LCN Restaurant of the Year for James Street South at the Europa on Friday night (June 1), has confirmed that his James Street South Group has purchased the Grade B listed Waterman House building at 5-23 Hill Street to accommodate the new venture..
The dedicated new cookery school, which will accommodate groups of up to 18 at a time, forms part of a new and extensive regeneration development within the area currently spearheaded by Commercial Court Inns Limited, which owns the adjacent Harp Bar and the nearby Duke of York and Dark Horse pubs.
Niall and wife Joanne already operate Hadskis restaurant in the Cathedral Quarter.
A champion for Northern Ireland’s growing tourism and hospitality sector, Niall said the Cathedral Quarter provided the perfect location for the new culinary venture. He believes it can offer food enthusiasts an ideal environment in which to enjoy an exciting learning experience.
Niall said the group’s focus was to bring its greatest asset – an award-winning dining and customer service experience – to greater numbers across Belfast.
“Our business is based on providing the highest quality food, drink and customer service in the best surroundings,” he added. “Location is key, which is why we have made the strategic decision to open an exciting new cookery school in the Cathedral Quarter – an increasingly vibrant and bustling part of the city.”
The James Street South Group currently employs a team of 85 full and part-time staff. Since opening in 2003, restaurants within the group have been recognised for food and service excellence by the Michelin guide, the Licensed & Catering News Awards, the Waitrose Food Guide and the Georgina Campbell awards.
“We’re delighted to reaffirm our commitment to developing and sustaining our award-winning hospitality offer with renewed vigour and passion and we look forward to seeing customers old and new in the months and years ahead,” said Niall.