Sponsored: The Joy Of Six For One Of Tralee’s Favourite Family Restaurants

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Emer and Ken Tobin of Yummy Cafe celebrated the business’ sixth birthday this month. Photo by Dermot Crean

SIX years.

It might not seem that long ago, but it’s hard to remember a time when Yummy Cafe wasn’t serving up great food on Dominick Street, such is the place it holds in the hearts of many people in Tralee.

Emer and Ken Tobin opened the doors to the award-winning family restaurant on June 5, 2013, after noticing that something was missing from many restaurants/cafes in town.

“We felt it was something different that the town was missing at the time,” said Emer. “Our children were young then and we found there was nowhere to go where kids could entertain themselves while the adults could eat, so there was a gap in the market.”

The result was a cool looking space with minimalist design, atmospheric lighting and rustic furniture. And, of course, the play space for young children who could have fun while parents could take a break.

Yummy Cafe has proven hugely popular over the years.

“We both had our say in how the place looked and in all honesty we were operating on a tight budget, so we had to use our imagination,” added Emer, who explained that Yummy almost didn’t exist due to the family planning to emigrate.

“Back then we had a choice — either jump on the boat or start something ourselves. In fact, Ken almost had a contract signed for a job in Sydney, but our daughter Caoimhe — who was just finishing sixth class at the time and was broken-hearted at the thought of leaving her friends — persuaded us to stay and look at plan B.”

The combination of the family-friendly atmosphere and cool interiors has been a big hit with everyone, but it’s been hard work.

“Starting off, things were slow and it got tight, where I was working all hours six days a week to make it work and bring costs down,” said Emer.

But if the product is right, it will flourish and Emer made sure the most important ingredient was present.

“I always said, from the very start, that I wouldn’t compromise on the quality of the food and the produce used. That has been the key to our success and even now — while we would see a lot of tourists during the summer months — from September to June 95% of our customers are regulars who come in almost every day of the week. Many of those customers have become friends and we almost know what they’re going to order before they sit down. That quality and consistency makes the difference.”

Six years might not be a long time, but Emer says she has seen many of her regular customers’ kids growing up in that time. In one case, right from the very beginning.

“We have one lady who told me she actually found out she was pregnant here in Yummy and her little boy is now going into junior infants in September. He was here as a baby and is still coming in with his mom, who was actually the very first customer to come in the door here.”

While Emer is always freshening things up on the menu, some favourites will always be there.

“We change the menu every six months, but the favourites will always remain. I remember we took our tuna melt off the menu about a year ago and there was uproar from the customers, so we had to put it back on! The chicken Toscana is another dish I wouldn’t dare take off because some customers come in specifically for it.”

Over the years, Yummy has evolved and caters for vegetarians and vegans, continuously adapting to customers needs. And that’s why, after six years, the customer care, friendly welcome and fabulous food will see Yummy through the next six with ease. Click here to see the Yummy Cafe menu.

Yummy Cafe on Dominick Street.

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