OUTDOOR DINING Yvonne Murphy is pictured outside her bakery/cafe in Ballinrobe last week. Pic: Karen Cox
THERE were times last year when Yvonne Murphy feared that she would never open the doors of ‘Devour’ in Ballinrobe again.
But thankfully the memories of the ‘bleak, tough and hard times’ of last spring and early summer are fading and this week heralds a new dawn for her well-known bakery and café business which opened in 2012.
Devour’s takeaway menu has proven very popular with customers in the Lake District area, but the return of outdoor dining represents another step on the road to normality.
Yvonne poured plenty of blood, sweat and tears (as well as around €4,500) into setting up a gazebo outside her premises last Autumn, and that will cater for approximately 12 people at any one time again in the weeks ahead.
“I’m very much looking forward to the return of outdoor dining, but there’s a huge anxiety there as well because of the transitions of the different elements of the business from last March,” Yvonne told The Mayo News last week.
“From the very beginning I never thought we’d be back open in two months or whatever.
“So I had prepared myself as much as possible, mentally and physically. That’s why I built the gazebo last September. Now we’ve enhanced it a little bit this time and what I invested in time and energy last year, I’ll probably reap the rewards from it now.”
Yvonne Murphy is much more than just the owner of Devour.
As she says herself, ‘I’m the chef, the baker, I do the accounts, the management and HR.”
She also studied graphic design last year while the business was closed due to Covid so can now turn her hand to designing and updating menus when the need arises.
She bakes six days a week from 7.30am to 2.30pm and then tends to the other aspects of the business. But she is keen to praise her ‘great team of staff’ for their roles in the operation.
“You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with,” she says.
And while the last 15 months have been anything but easy, Yvonne is trying to focus on the positive and is determined to keep evolving and adapting in the months ahead.
Coming up with ideas has never been an issue for The Neale native.
“One thing all of this has definitely given me is the opportunity to do things that I didn’t do before,” she explained.
“All the ideas that I had in my head and in a note book that I write down every other day, have all come true. And I can only thank Covid because the lockdown gave us time.
“When I opened in 2017, I always envisaged an evening trade on a Friday and Saturday. “From next week, please God, that’s going to happen.
“I want it to be the kind of place where you want where people can just pop in and out in an hour and have a nice pizza and a glass of wine. Or just spend a few hours with two or three friends and just graze on sharing platters of meats and cheeses.
“We’d be able to make it much bigger and much better when we’re inside, but I think the fact that it’s summertime, we’re allowed to eat outside, then why wait?
“I know we might be allowed inside in July, but I doubt it. I honestly don’t know. Nobody knows. I just think we’re not out of this yet, and we’re not going to be for a while.”