AWARD-WINNING Fenn’s Quay restaurant closed its doors to the public for the final time yesterday.
Owner and chef Kate Lawlor took the helm in 2008 but had been working there since 2001.
She announced her decision to cease trading on the restaurant's Twitter and Facebook pages which were followed by a flood of supportive comments.
Ms Lawlor confirmed her decision with the Evening Echo yesterday, saying it was a ‘day of mixed emotions’.
‘‘It’s been a tough decision. I’ve been running it now for the past nine years but it’s time now for the some of the young people of the city - someone young and energetic - to bring it on and to put their stamp on it. We’re going out on a high.’’ Many reasons factored into her decision to close the business - including new parking restrictions on Sheares Street and the bus strike earlier this year.
"There are so many increases, insurance is going up, rates are potentially going up."
"Some of the government officials are threatening to put up our 9% tax in the next budget but we don’t know what to; we would not have been able to cope with that.
"We know this is a typically quiet month in the city so we’d rather go out now than take the decision a bit later.’’ Ms Lawlor said her 14 staff were supportive of her decision.
Because we’ve been very quiet the past couple of months I don’t think it shocked them; you have to be busy to pay your staff.’’
Her career highlights included most recently they won Best Customer Service in Cork and Best kids Menu Munster in the Irish Restaurant Awards, but also participating in the city’s Long table supper.
She thanked her family, partner and her colleagues for being there for her.
"It wasn’t an easy decision to make; all the staff are being looked after and hopefully they will all find something else, or hopefully the new person that takes it on might keep them on."
After announcing the closure yesterday, Ms Lawlor was inundated with well-wishes.
Ms Lawlor said she plans to take time out and think about her next step.
"It’s a long time for a chef to stay in one place and so it’s time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life. How to change a habit after 16 years?"
"I love what I do; I’ve loved working with the suppliers over the years, and being in the heart of Cork city."
"I love my city so I’m not going anywhere too soon or anywhere too far, I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.’’
Ms Lawlor confirmed the premises would be put up for sale.