The Avoca Food Story

It all began with a few homemade jams & chutneys

Starting out as a small tea and coffee station selling home baking in a corner of one of the shops, the Avoca food experience has taken on a life of its own. From casual cafe dining in our Suffolk Street eatery, to candlelit dinners in the romantic Fern House restaurant, and from grab-and-go deli counters to gourmet brunches at our unique Monkstown location - there truly is a dining experience to suit every occasion at Avoca.

Our cafes are a fixture in good eating guides and we’re flattered to be often credited as pioneers of modern Irish cafe food. A mix of table and self-service, all place a strong emphasis on sourcing locally and cooking seasonally. Our raison d’être is great natural ingredients, many of which we grow ourselves in our own polytunnels or in our huge kitchen garden at our Dunboyne store. We prepare from scratch, and we like to be adventurous while always offering great value. It’s something of a passion.

Then, there are our foodmarkets. It all began with a few homemade jams and chutneys brought in by some of our earliest staff. (Some of the recipes still bear their names.) Now, they’re packed with delicious, artisan food from home and abroad. Exotic ingredients, unusual coffees and teas, interesting sauces, locally sourced products and much more cram the shelves. Freshly-made Avoca salads, soups, gourmet sandwiches and tarts can be taken away from our delis, as can many favourites from our cafe menus. People travel for miles to get our freshly baked breads and scones. Some of our stores now have specialist cheese and charcuterie counters and our very own butchers, too. Others feature wine shops with an exclusive, handpicked selection from smaller, independent vineyards.

Humble Beginnings. Delicious homemade soups with freshly baked bread has always been a popular lunch at Avoca. It’s hard to believe, now, that in the early days our soups were prepared and brought in by our now Managing Director, Simon Pratt. Then living in the gate lodge at Kilmacanoge, he spent his evenings cooking up large pots of minestrone and carrot soup. In the morning, he would load them into the back of his Renault van and take them to the shop to be heated up later that day. He recalls, “Hot soup and cars don’t mix. One day the carrot soup spilled all over the floor. After that, not only was it time to change the car, but we also realised the kitchen needed a more permanent home! It was then, in a sense, that the cafes were born.”