20 May 2022

New pizza restaurant 'humbled' by local support

The restaurant launched just as the Covid-19 pandemic was starting.

New pizza restaurant 'humbled' by local support

The owners of a new pizza restaurant in Magherafelt have been left 'humbled' by the local response after opening their doors last month in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.

CoCo Craft Pizza, owned by Conor Donnelly and Conor MacCann, launched last month after their initial plans coincided with the government imposition of lockdown back in March.

The building work on the restaurant had just been completed when the restrictions closed all sit-in restaurants, but public demand for collections allowed them to begin trading.

Co-owner Conor Donnelly said the pair had been overwhelmed by the local support for the restaurant since its opening.

“The level of support from the area has been humbling, and we want to return the favour to our customers by offering the best quality food there is to offer,” he said.

“The street food element, which changes weekly, allows us the opportunity to work with seasonal produce with no limitations.

“It also keeps things interesting for both us as a restaurant; and hopefully the customers, creating a new dining experience every visit.”

Conor MacCann, a former Head Chef at the critically acclaimed Roscoff's & French Brasserie and Bastille, said he was sold on his friend's idea from the start.

“Two years ago, when Conor pitched the CoCo Concept to me to create a casual and relaxed style restaurant and take away in our hometown, I knew I had to get back in the kitchen,” he said.

“There is nowhere else offering the same high level of artisan pizza and global street food.

“I wouldn’t have agreed for anyone else or anything less,” he said.

“There is so much scope to grow our business over the coming year with plans to introduce a Sunday lunch, extending opening hours to include lunchtime and creating daily specials.”

The Queen Street restaurant opened for sit-in diners in July with the relaxation of government restrictions, creating a number of new jobs in the process, and the new owners hope to work with local produce.

With both owners hailing from the area, Conor Donnelly said they were able to call on local businesses to help them get everything ready.

“We’re very proud of the investment we have made in starting the new business and fitting out the property to create a cool and casual environment,” he said.

“This is largely thanks to Hannah McHugh Design and Marcon Fit Out for their exceptional work to get shop ready. Artwork is provided by State of the Arts, Dungannon; a collaboration we hope to continue.

“Pizza is something that never seems to go out of fashion,” he added.

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