First Look: Last minute name change for the new D'Olier Street restaurant

First Look: Last minute name change for the new D’Olier Street restaurant

When Anthony Smith, James Moore and Jane Frye open their restaurant in the landmark D’Olier Chambers Building in Dublin 2 on Thursday, it will not be called Church and Chambers as originally planned and advertised on social media, but will bear his name D’Olier Street .

The change comes as a result of objections from landlord Brendan Flynn, owner of The Church Cafe Bar restaurant at Jervis Street and Mary Street, Dublin 1, to the use of the word Church in the new restaurant’s title.

“A letter from a lawyer came in two months ago,” says Smith, who is not only a partner in this company but also the owner of the Mr Fox restaurant in Dublin 1. “Then we went back and forth because we really liked the name and we really wanted it to keep it. We thought just explaining ourselves would calm things down, but it didn’t,” says Smith. “It got to the point where it was like, do we want to pursue this?”

Mr Flynn says he wants to avoid “confusion in the market”. “We have been trading as The Church since September 2007 and have built a very strong brand and reputation in Dublin, the rest of Ireland and internationally. A lot of our business is done online. There are concerns that there could be confusion if a Church and Chambers brand were operated in the restaurant space.”

“I wanted a dining room that was really warm and welcoming to match the service.”

A week ago, the partners at Church and Chambers, who are self-financing the new venture, decided to back down and change the restaurant’s name to D’Olier Street, and they plan to open under that name on Thursday.

The reservation book is now open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday; for a menu with three snacks, two fish dishes, one bread dish, one beef dish, two desserts and petit fours at a price of €82. Matching wines and soft drinks are available, as well as a full wine list. They describe the menu as “a fixed offering of contemporary dishes that change seasonally.”

The restaurant is on the ground floor of the 19th Century Grade II Listed building on D’Olier Street which has been remodeled by Pure Fitout to offer an open kitchen, seating 30 at large wooden tables, a chef’s counter seating an additional eight and a restaurant Cocktail bar for drinks before and after dinner, also with eight seats. There is a prep kitchen on the ground floor, but cooking and serving takes place in the main restaurant.

“The food suits the space. We’ve always said that when we enter a building, we know what style we’re going for.

The room’s high ceilings, ornate stucco molding and arched windows have been retained and the finished appearance is one of understated elegance. The walls feature original artwork by Dublin artist Chanelle Walshe, winner of the Arts Council’s Next Generation Award 2022. “I wanted a dining room that was really warm and welcoming to match the service,” says Frye, who will be working at the Front of House.

“The food suits the space,” says Smith. “We have always said that when we enter a building, we know what style we are aiming for. If it was bigger we would probably do a la carte. But it seats 38 so we said let’s do a set menu with high end fine dining. The room dictated the food.” With two sessions, they hope to do 60 covers a night.

Smith, who is from Dublin, and Moore, who is Australian, met while working as chefs at One Pico restaurant in Dublin 2 16 years ago. Moore soon after moved to New York and worked there for 15 years; Before taking on this project, he was executive chef at the two-Michelin star Atera. Smith came to New York from Mint when the Ranelagh restaurant closed in 2009. The couple ended up sharing an apartment in Tribeca, at a corner of Church Street and Chambers Street, which inspired their first choice of name for their Dublin collaboration.

A native of Ohio, Frye met Moore and Smith in New York, where she was pursuing a career in food media. She and Moore are now married. “I was hired by Tina Brown when she started The Daily Beast, I was part of that first digital wave, which was really exciting. Then I worked for a food website called Tasting Table, which was my dream job.”

After a stint in New York, Smith returned to Ireland and opened Mr Fox restaurant in Parnell Square, Dublin 1, initially in partnership with Stephen McAllister and Andrea Hussey and took over as sole owner three and a half years ago. At this point, Moore wanted to open his own restaurant. “Jimmy called me and asked if you could send me your business plan that you prepared for Mr. Fox?” Smith instead suggested a partnership in Dublin between himself, Moore and Frye. “So they sold their place, packed up all their things and came here,” says Smith.

Within days of arriving in Dublin last September, Moore covered Smith’s paternity leave. “He had two days of training; ‘Here’s the menu, these are all the suppliers, first of all you have to put an 01 in front’.” Frye joined Moore in Dublin just over a year ago and began a hospitality career in the front of house restaurant. “I’m the newbie here, but I did a hospitality boot camp at Mr. Fox last year,” she says.

They are joined by pastry chef Mina Pizarro, whose resume includes a list of Michelin-starred New York restaurants including Le Cirque, Per Se, Veritas and more recently Juni, Betony and L’Appart. “She’s a very good friend and she was looking for something new and exciting. I think I just caught her on a very good day,” Moore says of his tenure as a star.

After nine months of searching, the trio found the space they were looking for to set up a restaurant. “The rent was really high here, we thought it was probably out of our league and then we came and looked and oh wow. We knew we could do something really beautiful here,” says Smith of the striking 1891 building that was once the Dublin headquarters of the Gallagher cigarette company.

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