Avoca has become a firm favourite in Belfast City Centre over the past nine years. With gorgeous gifts and trinkets in the shop to the fantastic coffee and food on offer upstairs in the café and restaurant, it’s a little haven from the busy streets outside.

We sat down with Avoca’s restaurant manager Lee to chat about Belfast, business and more.

Q&A with Lee

What’s your favourite thing about running a business in Belfast?

I’d have to say it’s the warmth of the people and friendliness that’s everywhere. No matter where you are in Belfast you’ll always get chatting to someone new – whether it’s here in the café, getting served in a shop or just out on the street. It’s a city that just feels so local and welcoming and I think this contributes to the tempo of life in Belfast. Other cities I’ve lived in or visited are very busy and fast paced whereas here the pace is really comfortable.

What would be your perfect day in Belfast?

The great thing about the City Centre is that there’s such an extensive range of places to eat, shop and socialise all compacted into a small area – Belfast really just feels like a small town.
A perfect Saturday for me would be breakfast in Avoca – that might sound bias but I honestly wouldn’t go anywhere else! Our scrambled eggs with smoked salmon is my go-to breakfast.
My first stop for shopping would be Castlecourt as I just love it in there as there’s such a great variety of shops, and then on to TK Maxx to pick up a bargain. I also love Urban Outfitters and their homeware and gift department – you can always pick up something a bit different in there.
There's so many great places to eat out and have some drinks in the City Centre. For a top meal you can’t beat Howard Street or Home restaurant, and then for drinks Café Vaudeville that’s right next door to us is fabulous!

Why should people who haven't visited for a while come back to Belfast?

Belfast has changed so much over the past number of years. As I said before, the atmosphere is really relaxed, warm and friendly but it's still a bustling place at the same time. I think there’s a perception that it’s difficult and expensive to park in Belfast but, as someone who works in the City Centre, I can say that’s not the case. There’s lots of parking around and it doesn’t have to be expensive.
Our City Centre is also unique as there are lots of unusual boutiques selling high-quality and artisan products, as well as bigger brands working together with local artists and food suppliers to stock their products and that’s something I really love as it helps create that local, friendly, small town feel the city has. There’s always something very different to see and buy that you can’t get anywhere else in Northern Ireland.

What’s coming up next for Avoca?

We have lots of instore events coming up over the next couple of months especially with Christmas coming up!