GBC Restaurant & Coffee Shop owner Brid McSweeney sat down with the Galway Advertiser to talk about changes that have taken place in the coffee shop and first floor restaurant, and a new menu.
Tradition and experience are valuable commodities for any business to accumulate, and having operated in Galway city for more than 85 years, GBC Restaurant & Coffee Shop has plenty. However, time waits for no one, especially in business, and moving with the times and adapting to customers' changing needs is just as important as the aforementioned qualities.
Overlooking Galway city's Williamsgate Street, Brid McSweeney says from the first floor restaurant that the makeover of the premises provides diners with a more comfortable and enjoyable dining experience.
We completely refurbished the ground floor and the self service coffee shop and also the first floor restaurant which is now open from 12 noon to 6pm daily.
Brid says; "The refurbishment really brings us into the next decade and sets out that we are here and looking to serve people a really good value for money meal in pleasant surroundings. The feedback we have received has been tremendous. People have noticed the effort the business has put in and the changes which we have implemented to make their experience of the GBC more enticing and enjoyable, and that is very pleasing as a lot of work has gone on here."
The Coffee Shop
Split into two sections, a coffee shop on the ground floor and a restaurant on the first floor, regulars of the GBC will notice the small centre island with stools has been replaced with stylish, smooth, leather booth seating.
"The coffee shop is very popular, particularly for breakfast which runs all day because we have found some of our diners may be staying in hotels where there is not a breakfast option or breakfast is only served up until a certain time, so being able to get a fry at 12 noon really suits people. Time is precious to people so people will come in for a soup which dairy-free and gluten-free, or a freshly made sandwich where they can choose from a variety of fillings.
"All ingredients are locally sourced. We have gluten-free options and vegetarian options and we do a chef's choice daily. We also do a 15 per cent student discount as well as separate student deals which have proven to be big favourites at GBC. When it comes to our food, we are big on taste that will not hurt your back pocket."
Moving upstairs from the Coffee Shop to the Restaurant, the emphasis switches from the efficient meal to a more classical dining experience but with the same quality taste. Holding more than 60 seats, GBC's Restaurant offers customers a more extensive menu which has been recently refreshed with new options as well as table service.
Brid reveals; "We have been here for more than 85 years, however, we have diners who come in and do not realise that we have a restaurant upstairs. People like the efficiency of the coffee shop and because it is the first thing you see when you come through the door, they tend to migrate to it.
"While people may be content from the offering at the coffee shop such as the all day breakfast or a tea and scone, for those looking for a sit down dinner, the restaurant upstairs in The GBC is the ideal location. The restaurant opens from 12 noon to 6pm and we do an all day menu which has been recently revamped to provide our customers with a fresh new range of meal choices.
"Popular dishes would be traditional roasts, turkey and ham, fish dishes, pasta dishes, and of course vegetarian options and lighter fare. We also have a very good value children's menu with a daily special. The menu is more extensive with table service in the restaurant and people can also read the history of GBC upstairs."
People's excitement is building over the city and county for the events to be held for Galway 2020 and Brid says the staff at the GBC are no different. She says; "It is a really exciting time for Galway that it is the European Capital of Culture and we look forward to welcoming everybody to our vibrant and bustling city and we hope that our visitors, old and new, will pop in and see us to receive a genuine Galway welcome from our friendly staff in the GBC."
The staff at the GBC thank customers for their support over the years and look forward to seeing them over 2020.