Fitzpatrick's new owner Jim Conlon has big plans for the restaurant
Fitzpatrick's Bar and Restaurant has reopened its doors again for the first time in three months - and business is booming. The popular Jenkinstown eatery was closed at the end of May, after previously being run by Danny Fitzpatrick and family since 1993.
By the end of July the world-famous business was snapped up by Belfast firm The Conlon Group (formerly JDM Management) for €2 million.
Speaking exclusively to the Dundalk Democrat, Jim Conlon, Managing Director of The Conlon Group and the proud new owner of Fitzpatrick's told of his plans to merge the traditions the business has become known for with some fresh new ideas to help “fly the flag” for the award-winning restaurant.
Jim explained: “We have all of the original staff back. All of the team were so happy to come back, from the young guys to the older generation. We're very fortunate. The local, dedicated staff were key to the previous success of the business.
“We are delighted that the restaurant has such a stronghold in Dundalk. The food that was being served here was top-notch. We want to keep the same quality.”
The new owners are also keen to push Fitzpatrick's as a tourist destination for visitors looking for an authentic Irish experience.
“Our company is very strong with marketing, so we'd like to fly the flag for Fitzpatrick's,”said Jim, "It's a really unique spot. I see it as being up there with the Johnnie Fox's pubs of Ireland.”
The friendly new owner also says he is mulling over a number of quirky ideas to make use of the nine acres of land the business is set on.
“We're toying with the idea of having a helicopter landing pad on site. And by March of next year, we'll have glamping pods (upmarket tents) on site where people can book to stay overnight. These won't be your average glamping tents. They'll have kitchenettes and en-suites in them,” the businessman explained,
“And we have a temporary marquee going up for entertainment purposes. We're going to be strong on entertainment. Every weekend, we'll be hosting sessions with 5-piece bands. And in the internal courtyard, we'll be installing a stage, outdoor TVs and we'll be putting shopfronts along the walls to give it a traditional village feel. Our aim is to have the restaurant ready for the Christmas season.”
Fans of Fitzpatrick's famous seasonal events will be delighted to hear that the new owners will also be honouring that tradition.
“We'll still be holding the Halloween and Christmas events, but we want to take it to the next level and enhance the customer experience even more,” said Jim.
The new revamped Fitzpatrick's will also focus on targeting customers hosting “big functions” and conferences. And the new owners also see potential for providing hotel-like accommodation on the premises, as part of their five-year plan.
Jim adds: “As part of the Conlon Group I run several gyms and restaurants across Belfast. Our team has loads of different qualities to bring to the table. We're very excited for the future of Fitzpatrick's."