Q&A with Niall Davis
What was your inspiration for opening The Beringer?
Following on from Howard Street I’ve always wanted to open a high quality café in the City Centre and tap into the breakfast and brunch market that’s huge in other big cities. The unit that we have here on Fountain Street is also somewhere I’ve always loved, back when it was Altos and La Boca, so when it came up it seemed like the right time to launch The Beringer.
How have people in Belfast reacted to the breakfast and brunch concept?
We’ve had really positive feedback from customers and reviewers to date. Brunch on Saturdays has proved a real success so far and the customers have loved the food. I think because of Howard Street people still associate me with a more traditional setup so it’s taking a bit of time for customers to get used to the idea of a different type of restaurant but we’ve only been open seven weeks so that will come over time.
What is your favourite thing about running a business in Belfast?
People appreciate quality in Belfast and you find that about anything here, not just the restaurant industry. Because Northern Ireland is so small and has such high quality food suppliers it’s so easy to source the best produce locally – the smoked haddock that we serve was caught yesterday, smoked this morning, and is on people’s plates this afternoon. Our coffee comes from speciality coffee roasters Root and Branch on the Ormeau Road meaning it’s roasted just a few miles away. They’ve recently been featured as one of top 100 in the Best Shops 2016 by the Irish Times.
Where are your favourite places to eat, drink and socialise in Belfast?
For eating out if there’s somewhere new I’ll generally try it. I love the Cuban Sandwich Factory here on Fountain Street, I’m also partial to a Boojum now and again and for something a bit fancier I love The Muddlers Club, Mourne Seafood Bar, The Barge, Holohan’s and Ox for a real treat.
For live music and nights out Belfast has so many great options. In my opinion Voodoo has the best music in Belfast. Starting outside at 4pm it creates a fantastic atmosphere on Fountain Street. For a night out Aether and Echo also has a great vibe.
What’s your top tips for people visiting Belfast for the day or longer?
The variation of top quality restaurants gives so much choice. If you’re staying in the city centre everything is within walking distance – you could have an amazing breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week and not eat in the same place twice.
What’s next for you and The Beringer?
The Beringer is still in its first few months so we’re working hard to establish ourselves. We plan to start opening for brunch on Sundays in September as Saturdays are doing so well.
Aside from The Beringer, Belfast is a total city of opportunity and I’m keen to bring more concepts and cuisines from other big cities back home. London is a great city to get inspired by new ideas and I’d love to go down the street food avenue next with a focus on flavour and fun.