Yellow Door goes Native
Simon Dougan, founder of Yellow Door deli and outside catering, has teamed up with Phil Rodgers, a fellow chef and consultant with the Yellow Door Group, to stage this exciting new restaurant and bar – which is also drawing applause from the business community.
Ideally situated in the bustling Cathedral Quarter, Native is proving a popular place to meet colleagues for a casual meeting over coffee or a light bite, and also provides catering for corporate events at the MAC.
“The MAC has fantastic hire facilities, with a wide range of flexible options that include studios, theatre space, and a boardroom, all fully equipped with the latest technology,” said Phil Rodgers. “It’s ideal for the likes of press launches and networking events, and with the experience Yellow Door already has in outside catering, we intend to grow this side of our business here at the MAC too.”
Native is the latest venture for the family-run Yellow Door business, which has expanded from small beginnings as a restaurant in Gilford, Co Down, in 1992, to a multi-stranded operation employing 114 staff spread over six sites and with an annual turnover in excess of £5.5 million.
Based in Portadown, The Yellow Door Group now comprises delis in Portadown, Belfast and Lisburn; a restaurant at the Ulster Museum; the Native restaurant and bar at the MAC in Belfast (which opened in April 2015); an artisan bakery and patisserie division; and a kitchen garden supplying herbs and leaves.
The multi-award winning Yellow Door is also recognised as one of Northern Ireland’s premier catering companies and is the exclusive corporate caterer for Ulster Rugby at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast.
Building on the Yellow Door’s tried and tested recipe for success, the new Native restaurant and bar champions artisan food and drink producers from across Northern Ireland, throwing the limelight on emerging stars such as Shortcross Gin, McGrath’s Premium Irish Ales, Leggygowan Farm goats’ cheese and Ewings home-cured salmon.
There’s also a firm focus on keeping menus at affordable prices – a strategy that is already paying dividends, with the 160-seater restaurant increasing its weekly turnover by 20% since opening in April.
“We chose the name ‘Native’ because it embodies our whole philosophy at Yellow Door – we have a passion for fabulous, locally produced food, and a desire to get the very best out of it,” said Phil.
Promoting sustainability is at the heart of this philosophy, and to this end Simon and the team have created their own roof garden at the MAC building to grow herbs for the restaurant kitchen.
LOW FOOD MILES
“At Yellow Door, it’s all about low food miles, lowering our carbon foot print, recycling, urban gardening – and of course freshness and food quality,” added Simon.
The aim at Native is to provide flexible dining options at affordable prices for a wide-ranging clientele – from MAC visitors, to business people, office workers, shoppers, tourists and students.
“To us, it seems the obvious way to take the business forward,” said Phil. “People are much more educated about food and drink now so we have to keep innovating, but we also need to keep prices at a level that will give us regular return business. Our ‘Native Bites’ are a case in point. Since we introduced these lighter snack options they have accounted for 50% of our overall sales.”
Open from 9am until late, seven days a week, Native by Yellow Door has a fully licensed bar and serves everything from breakfast, coffee and Sunday brunch, to take-away lunch and pre-theatre dining.
For more information, contact Native, the MAC, 10 Exchange Street West, Belfast BT1 2NJ, T: , E: , W: www.themaclive.com/food-and-drink or follow on