• Cyril McAree

It’s A Happy First Birthday For Hooked But Fearful Times For The Irish hospitality industry

Celebrating its first birthday this month is Hooked Restaurant on Rockwood Parade. Already an integral part of Sligo life, Anthony Gray’s second restaurant in Sligo town has been a winner since the day it opened its doors. The Bord Bia “Just Ask” Restaurant of the Year, Best Newcomer of the Year at the Yes Chef Awards, Best Newcomer in Connaught in the Irish Restaurant Awards ... the list is endless. Hooked is the ultimate casual diner with a feel good vibe, eclectic decor and food that’s both funky and delicious.

“Our loyalty is to Sligo and our customers” ... Anthony Gray “It’s been an amazing first year in business at Hooked, despite the unexpected challenges thrown at us by the recent budget”, said Anthony Gray, owner of both Hooked and Eala Bhán, who is past president of the Restaurants Association of Ireland “Our loyalty is to our wonderful customers and to my native town Sligo. However all is not rosy in the hospitality industry and we have seen a dramatic turndown in the number of visitors from the north due to the devaluation of sterling. Now we are facing unchartered waters with Brexit looming. These are worrying times for all of us”.

However Anthony Gray remains positive and pledges to support local business, “We will continue to support local producers and suppliers to help them get through these tough times too. I welcome the new venues which have recently opened in Sligo. They give much needed jobs and demonstrate the positive spirit which makes Sligo stand out from other towns”. He continued with an upbeat comment, saying “We will rise above the VAT rate change and any other obstacles put in our way. Our customers can depend on us for the best atmosphere, the best service and of course the best food”.

New Menus: Anthony Gray and Head Chef Joe McGlynn are launching exciting new menus to coincide with the birthday. It’s all still the very best of Sligo and local produce and of course sausages and burgers made to Anthony’s father Joe Gray’s recipes take pride of place.. Highlights on the new menus include The Hooked Ultimate Irish Breakfast Brioche Bap (Kelly’s white pudding with two jumbo Joe Gray sausages, poached free - range egg, Feeney’s streaky bacon and Hooked homemade tomato chutney) and the 12 hour Slow Cooked Pork Belly (marinated in a sticky secret sauce served with Hooked salad, homemade slaw and hand cut fries). That would warm the cockles of the heart on a chilly winter day.

Food Writer Accolades: Adding to the awards Hooked has won are the accolades which have come their way from all the most celebrated food writers in the country. Georgina Campbell has honoured Hooked in the Just Ask awards, Lucinda Sullivan has written with enthusiasm of both menu and decor, and John & Sally McKenna include it in “Ireland The Best 2019”.

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