Pictured : Micheal Flannery,The Fish Box
The Fish Box restaurant and takeaway, based in Dingle, is using the investment to put a food truck on the road, introduce a fresh fish counter and add solar panels as part of a drive to be more energy efficient.
Since the Flannery family opened The Fish Box in Upper Green Street in the heart of Dingle town in 2018, they have been making waves in the food industry, picking up multiple food awards and featuring in several Top Places To Eat In Ireland guides.
The Fish Box received €200,000 in grant aid towards its investment under the Brexit Blue Economy Enterprise Development Scheme, recommended by the Seafood Taskforce established by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D. and implemented by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM). The scheme is funded by the European Union under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve.
The Fish Box is very much a family affair with Micheál Flannery managing the business and looking after marketing and sales. His brother, Patrick, operates and supplies fish from the family’s boat, Cú na Mara, Mother Deirdre is head chef while sister Eimear works at front of house.
The Fish Box employs around 35 people and offers both a takeaway and sit-down option with attractive outdoor area. With the current investment, the restaurant, which currently seats 20, is expanding to accommodate 100 customers indoors.
The investment will also see the addition of a fresh fish processing and sales area to include walk-in cold and freezer rooms, new signage and a solar panel system which will reduce energy costs.
Part of the investment which Micheál is very excited about it the addition of a customised seafood truck which will spread The Fish Box brand by going on the road from January. It has already been booked for events this year.
Said Micheál: “Without the support of Bim and the Brexit Blue Economy Enterprise Development Scheme we would not have been able to have undertaken this significant investment. We believe this is going to put us on the road to expansion, with local producers and fishermen benefitting, as well as the consumer.”
The Fish Box kitchen offers a wide range of delicious seafood, and a signature dish is the Crispy Chilli Monkfish which is really popular. The jumbo Langoustines in garlic butter are also popular. The Fish Box introduced a mixed seafood box with bits of everything which was a big hit and which other seafood businesses are now offering.
“We don’t really follow trends in the Fish Box. We do our own thing, offering local food,“ said Micheál. “We really believe that with our own trawler catching fish and supplying to our restaurant, the fresh fish counter and the truck we have a model that will work all over Ireland, and expansion from Kerry is something we will explore next year.”
Micheál said the family is passionate about offering a really great experience and bringing local food in a warm friendly informative environment.
“This business is about us, our family, the restaurant staff, our boat, the crew of the boat, adding more value to the catch and fishing in a much more sustainable way. We fish from Dingle and land our catch in Dingle which then goes directly to our restaurant in Dingle. There is no travel. I know who catches the fish, who handles it, who fillets it, who cooks it and finally who eats it. We can literally offer a Sea to Fork experience.”
With the expansion of the business The Fish Box is now fostering partnerships with local boats to support the processing and sales of their sea food and with the food truck will foster new relationships all over Ireland in new locations.
Micheál’s great grandfather started fishing back in the 1920’s, followed by his grandfather, Paddy Flannery. Micheál’s Dad Michael took over from his father and continues to carry on with tradition with Patrick now running the Cú Na Mara.