In what has been a trying period for hospitality and catering over the past couple of years, the proprietors of one South Armagh based eatery have ended 2021 with rather big smiles etched upon their faces.
Scooping the Best Place to Eat Award at the prestigious Newry Business Awards last month proved yet another proud milestone for Camocha & Fiships, which began operations as a mid-strip retail unit with a capacity for only 35 diners at a busy filling station.
It was in 2012 when Camlough siblings Michael and Ciaran Hughes swapped spirit levels for salt and vinegar, leaving behind respective careers in construction to focus on providing patrons of their small border village a chance to sample the very best in local foodstuffs.
A decade later and the little café that could, did.
Sticking to their day zero principles of offering patrons a modernised twist on traditional chip-shop classics blended with an exciting array of lunchtime favourites, the business inevitably outgrew its humble beginnings - since moving to a purpose-built restaurant facility but yards away from its original home, at the mouth of Camlough Retail Park.
Now catering for up to 110 customers and employing 50 members of staff, the swanky luncheonette has become the first choice for a range of hungry devotees in the thriving greater Newry area, with word of its excellence becoming increasingly far-reaching on both sides of the border.
Faith in tried and tested local suppliers has always been at the forefront of the Camocha & Fiships approach. Making use of familial contacts at Hughes’ Foodhall Butchery Counter ensured that the boys could maintain a consistent flow of quality meats to their kitchens, which has been complimented by renowned chicken from Murphy’s Poultry yard in Newry and fresh bread from O’Hare’s bakery in nearby Warrenpoint.
Blessed with a nose for good food is one thing, but the brothers have certainly not been found lacking in business acumen either and in 2019 convinced much lauded Newry ice-cream parlour, Timoney’s Ices, to set up an ice cream bar inside their new takeaway facility.
This marriage of back home comforts and cutting-edge culinary carte du jour looks set to be the recipe that will bring Ciaran and Michael further success in the future, with the introduction of a personalised ordering app their latest foray into further convenience.
In acknowledging their recent success, both paid tribute to their fiercely faithful employees who helped navigate the business through the unknown waters of a global pandemic, and too, to their loyal customer base. Without both, they added, receiving recognition would never have been remotely possible. The boys reserve a special mention of thanks to the Fitzpatrick Family, owners of Timoney’s Ices for their continued faith and friendship.
Keep up to date with all the latest Camocha & Fiships goings-on, daily specials and events by searching “Camocha & Fiships” on Facebook and following @CamochaFiships on Instagram. Download the “Fiships” App on the AppStore or Google Play. Editorial by I Am Digital Group.