Gourmet Parlour has a long history in Sligo. Being one of the longest running cafes in Town. Their cafe in Collooney has just undergone a fab renovation too. We spoke with Catherine and Annette to find out more about their journey, why they chose Sligo and how the town has changed in the 30 plus years they’ve been open!
Catherine told us “
“Annette and I met in the late 80’s at Ballymaloe house where we trained with Darina Allen. I’d just finished a course in Hotel Management and happily got a job at Ballymaloe. I’ve always had a passion for food so I saved up and did the 12 week cookery course. Annette was working inthe cookery school too! When we finished the course there were loads of job offers on the board, including running a chalet skiing in France, so off we went together! In France we got the idea for the business.
In april 1990 we came home and noticed in Ireland there was an opening for a cafe with locally sourced ingredients, wholesome food. Sligo came to our attention as there weren’t a lot of food establishments there and luckily the rents were cheaper than lots of the country. I hadn’t been to Sligo before so it was all new and exciting. Annette is from Ballisadare in Sligo so she knew she wanted to come home and start her business.
Sligo was a completely different place back then. I remember walking down by the river where osta and fiddlers are now. The whole area was undeveloped and was mainly warehouses. Huge changes food wise too. Lots of great foodie places have opened which is great. Tourism is on the rise. Sligo is an absolutely fabulous place, the scenery is beautiful, lots of things to do and visit.
We started in John street but outgrew that and moved to the bigger kitchen in Bridge Street. Colloney was opened about 10 years ago, at the time of the downturn in the economy. We wanted to open a sit- in place for people to relax and enjoy our cake. It’s been a great success and we’re still going strong.
During Covid we decided to renovate the Collooney Cafe. We had to close for the first time in 30 years and realised we wanted to rebrand. Give the place a facelift, to rejuvenate and freshen up our brand.”
We asked Annette what she loves about Sligo and she said “Our favourite things about Sligo are definitely the ocean, the walks, scenery, mountains, it’s just beautiful. Lots of space quiet areas to walk. The town has lots of art events and exhibitions, and it’s not too big so everything is accessible.”
The Gourmet Parlour have gone from strength to strength since opening and are passionate about their artisan offerings. Making everything in-house from their bread to baking their own hams. They are into their 32nd year in Sligo and we’d like to see them thriving for the next 32! Gourmet Parlour and Sligo are a great team!
Annette and Catherine wanted to thank the following Sligo tradesmen who worked so hard on the renovations in Collooney. Knocknarea Kitchens Brian Hunter…and his team… Also our electrician Jim Brown who we’ve worked with since we opened. Our plumber Aiden McSharry who has also been with us from the beginning and our tiler Tony, and painter Gerard Keniff.