This past year has been the year of the pop-up in Galway. From once off fundraisers like The Blue Tea-pot night put together by Jess Murphy from Kai, to longer running experiments like the Dillisk Project, a temporary restaurant run out of a disused boat house in Connemarra.
Step forward the Dough Bro’s, artisan pizza makers who insist on nothing but the best. Brothers Eugene and Ronan Greaney, and their childhood friend, Laurence Enright are the lads in question. They may sound like like a cooler, modern interpretation of an 80′s boy band, but you have to be a certain age to remember Bros.
They had built a cult following from their pizza van in Moycullen market and achieving huge success at the last Galway Food Festival, where they were one of the most popular stalls out of a very good bunch of vendors. Fast forward a few months, and they were sitting pretty in a pop-up in Abbeygate Street, not generally known as a terribly fashionable part of town. The arrival of the Bro’s and a few other new cafes and eateries very soon caused a buzz around the street and joined the dots between the existing eclectic retailers like My Shop Granny Likes it, Vanda Luddys Gallery and thrift markets, giving that entire area a new life and identity.
The pop-up emerged with youthful exuberance and enthusiasm. It’s rough and ready as pop-ups tend to be, everything made out of pallets, spindles and scaffolding planks picked up from building sites, with further seating upstairs in the den and an outdoor terrace. They use the very finest ingredients, the all important dough is made from 00 Caputo flour from Naples to achieve the unmistakable taste of an Italian pizza. There is a small selection of Irish craft beers and cider. The creative toppings are a cut above, locally scourced where possible with everything made on the premises. The wood fired oven creates theatre, an inviting glow and the destictive char on the thin, chewy bases. The staff are personable with warm welcomes and gracious goodbyes.
We had taken to popping in on a Saturday during the ten weeks of there occupancy. The ‘Posh Pepperoni’ and the ‘Chicken Caesar Salad’ had become favorites. The fiery Bahn Mi Special was a joy and will convert you to putting pickle on your pizza. Along with a couple of sides including a mustardy potato salad and a zesty, light coleslaw it was perfect Saturday family fare.
There is nothing wrong with fast food when it’s fast food done like this. This is not just pizza, there is a respect for ingredients and immense pride in their product. While they still have the pizza truck, it currently hangs in the balance whether they will renew their lease here or not. I sincerely hope they do, as it’s a long drive from my house to Moycullen.
Irish food had long been a something of a worldwide joke, with potatoes as the punch line. Until now the food revolution has been from the top down, but at last we see something starting at grass roots level. Along with Entre-pans at the Bierhous and Bite-Club at Electric, we see street food elevated to an art form with no compromise on quality. More of our pubs and cafes are buying from local producers and less from the back of the ubiquitous chilled lorry.
Dough Bro’s are game changers in Galway’s food scene, coming at a time where we are making a last stand against industrialised food. It’s a slow journey from where we were to where we are headed, but people like the Dough Bro’s are turning the tide. I, for one, wish there were more like them. Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey.
First published in The Galway Advertiser 11.09.2014