With their menu and deli consistently featuring local meats, cheeses, jams, chutneys and vegetables, Rua were selected as national winners for the 2016 Bord Bia Just Ask initiative. The Bord Bia Just Ask campaign, now in its seventh year, encourages restaurants to promote local produce to encourage transparency between customers and suppliers.
A leading Restaurant of the Month is selected every year by Bord Bia and renowned food writer Georgina Campbell, with Rua claiming the 2016 overall top spot.
Commenting on the restaurant’s sourcing, Aran McMahon from Rua said: “We use numerous blackboards to announce various dishes of the day and afford respect to proudly named suppliers. Local Mayo farmers supply our beef, lamb and free range pork, and we source our fish from six different seafood providers on the west coast. Local herbs and vegetables are supplied by our local rural training scheme, our own polytunnel, and other local suppliers“.
To coincide with the announcement, Bord Bia also revealed new research confirming that Irish people are now hugely supportive of local foods, with over three quarters (76%) of respondents saying they would be more inclined to visit a restaurant which actively promotes and serves local produce, and 67% citing that they would choose a dish containing local produce over imported food when dining out. Furthermore, 88% would like to see local suppliers listed on a menu when dining out.
Commenting on the research, Maureen Gahan, Bord Bia said: “We’re delighted to see that consumers are increasingly proactive about selecting local restaurants and seeking information about where the produce on the menu originates from. It shows an appreciation of our wonderful produce and culinary expertise. The strong research results show it’s a win-win for restaurants to promote their suppliers, as customers are now actively choosing local foods when they can. We would encourage all other restaurants interested in taking part to get in touch as we are happy to help provide guidance on promoting local foods“.
The original Café Rua and family business was established 1995 by Ann McMahon on Castlebar’s New Antrim street. This hugely popular café is now run by Ann’s children Aran and Colleen, and in 2007 they opened ‘Rua’, a second location on Spencer Street, which also includes a delicatessen and bakery.
The business has continued with Ann’s original philosophy of serving ‘uncomplicated food using seasonal and local ingredients’, and has become a major destination for food aficionados from the west, and indeed all over Ireland.