The businessman behind the critically acclaimed Harry’s in Bridgend and Harry’s Shack in Portstewart is set to launch a new restaurant venture.
Donal Doherty is planning to launch Harry’s Wagon, which will be located further down the two-mile stretch of sand at Portstewart Strand and will feature a custom-built trailer with beach-style benches.
Doherty, who together with his head chef Derek Creagh has conjured up a kind of culinary magic, told The Irish Times the new Harry’s Wagon outlet is unlikely to be his last as he looks to “build on both a family tradition and his own hard earned reputation”.
“When the National Trust first contacted me about it, I told them there was no way I was going to open a place in Portstewart. I just wasn’t interested. I only agreed to have a look at it as a favour for them because I had been involved in something in Derry with them that hadn’t worked out well and I had lost money on it.
“But when I went up there on the day and saw the Shack and saw Portstewart beach, I just thought ‘God, look at this’. I just couldn’t pass it by. I just took the chance and it has just all pieced together beautifully. Now our walled garden is supporting two restaurants.
Doherty, a former accountant by profession, has first hand experience in the restaurant business. His father started Harry’s Restaurant in Bridgend in Donegal 25 years and it is still a family-run firm.
Today he lives in Donegal and drives hundreds of miles between his two bases, seven days a week.
Doherty admits that, like many other restaurant businesses, the first Harry’s Restaurant struggled during the downturn. It was a challenge to maintain what Doherty describes as its massive commitment to what “makes it special and different” – sourcing only the best local ingredients and cultivating a walled garden where they grow all their own vegetables.”