Popular toastie spot aims to make Thomas Street ‘home’

In March 2021, bar managers Jack Brennan and Jacob Long were furloughed from their jobs. While Covid shut down businesses all over Ireland, a new one began in Malahide, Co Dublin.  

“Me and Jacob had no jobs, and we thought ‘what will we do, what will we do? We’ll rent a food truck. What will we sell? We’ll sell toasted ham and cheese sandwiches – everyone likes toasted ham and cheese sandwiches. We started in Malahide, simple as that.

“It was literally something to get us through,” Jack Brennan tells The Liberty. 

The first food truck was set up on a friend’s front garden, next to Malahide beach. 

A temporary idea to get through the early days of the pandemic soon turned into a local favourite.  

“It kind of exploded from day one, you know what I mean? The queues went around the garden. We’re both fairly entrepreneurial, we both thought ‘maybe we have a little brand here’”, Brennan says.  

When they opened the first Griolladh they “rented a van and said to the man ‘We’ll give it back in September, we won’t need it after that.’ We thought life would be back to normal.”  

“This is gonna be our Griolladh home.”

Griolladh owners Jack Brennan and Jacob Long (Photo courtesy of Griolladh Instagram Page)

Griolladh made a name for itself quickly, and it wasn’t long until an opportunity for expansion came along. The Globe bar, South Great George’s Street, offered them a chance to set up a second location.  

“The Globe got onto us after the €10 meal thing, and asked if we would come in. That was our first step into a new thing, and then other people started reaching out.” 

Since then, they have opened over six locations, with Thomas Street becoming their first brick-and-mortar spot. While food trucks have popped up across Dublin, Griolladh is set to open its first café in the heart of the Liberties, in the premises of the old butcher shop beside Mannings Bakery on Thomas Street.  

“People are getting back to their old habits. They wanna sit inside, they wanna be served. We always knew that we were gonna have to go into a café market if we wanted to make it last. The unit suited what we wanted. It’s gonna be a production unit in the back, and a café in the front.” 

It’s going to be a busy kitchen. “This is gonna be our Griolladh home. That’s why we picked it. If you look at the menu, all of the meats and fillings are cooked by us. All of the sauces are blended by us. So everything is made from scratch,” Brennan says.  

Picture of future location provided by Alex Curran

With their business venture gaining traction, Brennan says that he and his partner have left the bar life behind them. “We’ve gone full time with Griolladh. We might do odd bits here and there, but Griolladh is our number one priority.”  

While their growth is evident, the pair have built their success themselves, accomplishing their goals without investment. “It was all financed by ourselves, through the business,” explains Brennan.  “We didn’t take any outsider money, or anything like that. It was great.” 

Griolladh was recently nominated for the Food and Wine’s Food Truck of the Year award, which was won by Misunderstood Heron. 

Brennan insists the vans will still “definitely be put to use” as they make the move indoors. 

“We’ll keep the vans. I don’t know, it really depends on how well it works. It might become a seasonal thing. We own the vans.” 

As of now, Griolladh has given no date on when it plans to open its new café.

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