WITH 28 Darling St. soon to become 28 at the Hollow as the restaurant moves to new premises in Enniskillen, owner and head chef, Glen Wheeler, says the quality of food, service and hospitality will still be of the same high standard.

Despite the change of venue, Glen and his wife, Zara – who runs the front of house in the restaurant – are bringing their whole team with them to the new venue at Blakes of the Hollow, in a move that should make the transition as smooth as possible.

28 at the Hollow will move into space previously occupied by Cafe Merlot, while it will also be utilising restaurant No. Six, which is located above Blakes.

It’s a very busy time for Glen and Zara, who also welcomed their third child recently, but it is also a very exciting time, as Glen explained.

“We’re really excited. We had a great three years in 28 Darling St., and I suppose the move just felt right.

“I’ve always loved these premises; have always loved the Blakes of the Hollow, [it’s got] so much character and personality, so I think it just suits what we’re about and suits probably me and Zara better, and we’re looking forward to getting stuck into it.”

Work is currently going ahead at pace to get the 28 at the Hollow premises ready for the indicative hospitality reopening date of May 24.

However, while that causes stress in itself, the fact that they do not have to go looking for new staff eases the pressure somewhat.

“We’re taking the whole team that was with us in 28 Darling St., which we’re really excited about, because we think a lot of our team and we always have – they are like family to us.

“We’ve kept very close to them through the whole pandemic, and because they’re coming with us, and we have a whole core – which is the hardest thing you’re supposed to get right – [that has helped with the transition].

“It’s just a new premises, [but] it’s going to be the same style of service. We put a lot of work and emphasis into good service and good hospitality.”

In terms of the menu, Glen says 28 at the Hollow will be a bit more casual dining, but diners can still expect to see three or four of the chef’s signature dishes on the menu when the place opens. And with this move, it will give Glen the chance to push the boat out at No. Six with some fine dining in a setting that has excited Glen.

“This got me so excited when I saw it, because I had never been up in it until I took a walk around the place.

“It’s absolutely out of this world, so what we’re going to do upstairs is going to be like really fine dining.

“And it gives me maybe a chance as well if downstairs is going to be a bit bit more casual, upstairs we can stretch our legs and push the boat out and do the best food we could ever do, and know that we have no excuse.

“We have the facilities, we have a beautiful restaurant that has so much character, and it’s dripping with class and elegance, overlooking the main street in town, and we’re above one of the oldest pubs in Ireland, and it’s all very exciting.”

And while it is all very exciting, getting the restaurant ready to open has not fazed Glen.

“I feel weird about it, because obviously, with 28 Darling St., that was the scariest moment of my life – opening up my first restaurant – but this time I’m even more relaxed because we’ve done all that before.

“And we have the backbone of a good team, and the restaurant and everything’s beautiful, so it’s just we’re moving our business from A to B,” Glen concluded.

The plans for the new restaurant will certainly whet the appetite of eager diners, but while the downstairs restaurant should be ready to open in the coming weeks, upstairs will not be taking customers until later in the year, with Glen saying further announcements around that opening will be made via social media pages in the coming weeks.