Cliste Hospitality’s latest Acquisition, The Viaduct Restaurant, Market & Cafe
The Viaduct Restaurant, Market and Café is the latest addition to Cliste Hospitality’s growing portfolio of hospitality venues in Ireland. The property, located on the Old Bandon Road in Cork, has long been seen as the gateway to West Cork.
David Jordan is the Director of Strategy, Research and Innovation with Cliste Hospitality. With over 10 years of experience in the hospitality sector, David started his career in the industry as Food & Beverage Manager in Brooks Hotel in Dublin, followed by a stint as Operations Manager at the Morrison Hotel in Dublin. In 2011, he co-founded the successful Auntie Nellie Sweet Shops, opening 16 stores around the country before it was acquired by TLC Confectionery. He then served as Managing Director with the company, overseeing their manufacturing set up and assisting with further acquisitions and new product developed. After completing a Master’s in business and setting up his own strategic consultancy business, he joined Cliste Hospitality in January 2022 at the same time as the company acquired The Viaduct Inn. This timing was particularly beneficial, allowing him to immerse himself in bringing The Viaduct project to fruition.
As the latest acquisition for Cliste Hospitality, The Viaduct Restaurant, Market and Café represents the company’s commitment to exploring bespoke hospitality opportunities. It’s a strategy that has evolved for the company as a result of the pandemic recovery being experienced by the sector and the broader Irish economy.
David Jordan explains the appeal of the Viaduct Restaurant, Market and Café as an acquisition for Cliste: “The Viaduct is a unique and historic property in a fantastic location in West Cork, and it has always been a momentous hospitality footprint with significant potential. The opportunity to invest in a complete redesign and refurbishment of the property was exciting for the group and all the Cliste in-house team”, he enthuses.
“Our plans were to develop a leading food and drinks destination on the gateway to West Cork. We really saw the potential for the Viaduct to become a modern Irish restaurant that is family-friendly and suitable for all occasions.”
The property is divided into three distinct offerings; a Café, Restaurant and Market. As David explains: “The Café is a relaxed local space where we offer daily breakfast, lunch, light bites and sweet treats. The menu in the café is fresh, healthy and light.”
“The Restaurant is designed in keeping with The Viaduct’s renowned carvery tradition during the day”, he continues. “It’s transformed in the evenings to service our modern A La Carte menu, developed by our Head Chef Keith Colgan using the finest West Cork ingredients. We also have the Barry Room, which delivers the perfect private dining experience with an intimate space for up to 50 people. The room is actually named after Michael (Mick) Barry. Mick was born in Waterfall, and is widely acknowledged as the greatest ever advocate of bowl playing. On St. Patrick’s Day in 1955, he actually lofted a bowl onto the Viaduct, which is nearly 100 feet high!”
The third offering at the Viaduct is the Market, which provides a different experience, giving customers a unique opportunity to source locally produced products not typically found in other retail stores in the area.
David is excited about the what the market can offer to customers: “The Market features a bakery section with freshly baked products and desserts from our chefs and we have a Grab and Go offering for those who are looking for a restaurant-quality lunch offering on the go. One thing I love about the Market is bringing back products that people have not seen for ages. For instance, every time I go into the Market I end up having a long chat with customers about Hadji Bey. This is a product that was originally created by Harutun and Esther Batmazian, an Armenian trader and his wife. They arrived in Cork in 1902 and produced their Turkish delight on McCurtain Street in Cork. It is absolutely a Cork tradition and people remember visiting the store and getting their Turkish delight especially around Christmas Time. It’s really great to be able to feature these kinds of products that have such a long heritage in the Cork area in our market.”
Food providence is an important consideration at The Viaduct Restaurant, Market and Café, and Head Chef Keith Colgan was inspired by local food producers when he developed his West Cork influenced A La Carte menu. David details the many suppliers featured at the Viaduct: “Our menu features ingredients provided by Skeaghanore West Cork Farm, Gubeen Smoke House, Ballycotton Sea Food, Union Hall Smoke Fish, Toonsbridge Dairy, and of course Clonakilty Pudding amongst others”, he says. “In addition, the group uses suppliers from all over Ireland, such as Gilligan Farm where my own favourite, our amazing burgers, come from.”
He continues: “Not only are these suppliers providing us with outstanding ingredients, buying local helps support small businesses within our communities and helps contribute to the local economy by boosting employment rates, something Cliste considers strongly as part of its acquisition strategy. One of the other benefits of using local suppliers for restaurants is we can add interest to our menus through seasonal produce that are only available for short periods of time.”
Sustainability is also a key consideration for Cliste Hospitality, as David outlines. “With everything we do at Cliste Hospitality, we are taking steps to reduce our environmental footprint and preserve our communities’ natural resources by using innovative tools, new practices, and rigorous standards. Led by our Group Facilities Manager, Andrew Mullen, and a dedicated network of Sustainability Leaders across the team at Cliste, our award-winning Environmental Management Programme fosters the creation of a more sustainable hospitality model. To better serve our economic and environmental goals, we have set targets at the Viaduct such as reductions in waste, water, and energy.”
The group currently employs 40 people at the Viaduct, and each staff member undergoes an in-depth training schedule under the guidance of General Manager Gillian Colgan. The group are always on the lookout for additional talent to join the team.
David has been delighted with the phenomenal response the Viaduct has received from the local community since it opened in September, and in terms of future plans, David is focused on building on this success in the short term. “Right now we are just focusing on getting to know our customers better and ensuring we provide them with the best food and service”, he says.
“However in the future, we are looking more at the trend of convenience in the sector, namely in the grab-and-go and catering Market, and we foresee that happening later in 2023. People’s lives are so busy they are looking for alternatives to cooking at home but want nutritious meals that are restaurant quality. We are also looking to add an additional pergola space to the Viaduct next year so that as people enjoy their meals and cocktails, they can enjoy the full view of the incredible Chetwynd Viaduct.”
Congratulations to David Jordan and his team at the Viaduct Restaurant, Market and Café for bringing this fantastic Cork hospitality venue back to life.