McCabe’s Deli sits at the corner of Townsend Street and Tara Street. Have you seen it? Unlikely.
‘Location, location, location’!
The location of the Café on this particular-corner is a bit of a paradox. You see, the location is perfectly positioned in the path of copious footfall. The problem is, the footfall is generally moving at rush-hour speeds. Like schools of oceanic fish, moving hither and dither.
Blink, and you’ll miss ‘em.
The sound of the traffic light buzzer, is like the starter’s pistol at the 100m dash at any athletics meeting. ‘Go!’
Most of us are too busy thinking about where we have to be, what we have to do when we get there, who we’ve to meet…
‘Oh no, is that the time, already’!!!
Wait. Take a little time, to make some time.
The next time your rush-hour gallop is halted by the Townsend / Tara Street traffic lights, take a second to slow your racing thoughts and look around you.
Clear this fog of impending activities and tasks, and you’ll see McCabe’s Deli. A hidden gem of an eatery no more than 50 yards from the River Liffey itself. The large shop-front windows ensure the day’s-light is captured inside the deli. The deli is always bright inside. The café itself, has a simplistic feel to it, no frills, no fuss. It is small ‘in size’ (not so in heart nor stature!) with a capacity of 50 ‘sitting-in’ souls.
Ray McCabe, the proprietor (and his wife) established this café over 12 years ago. He has seen many changes to the local area. Changes involving the politics of ‘Boom and Bust’ and now, as can be gathered through the many ‘high-viz’ vests milling around, that there is now perceived ‘Recovery’ happening. During this time, McCabe’s Deli, like a pair of old soldier’s boots, has experienced and overcome the difficult challenges of business life including neighbouring competition. It’s a damn tough marketplace to survive in (the emptied shop-fronts nearby are testament to this) but McCabe’s Deli continues to punch above its weight.
You see, what McCabe’s has (in abundance) is very hard to replicate – integrity.
McCabe’s Deli is a reflection of the owner himself, Ray. You can feel the unyielding passion and drive.
And the reason for this passion is that Ray has a promise to keep to his customers and his own excellent standards to uphold. His promise is to ensure the hunger pangs (and caffeine withdrawals) for the locals, regulars and loyal customers (like those from The Irish Times, Dublin City Markievicz Gym, Tourists from the Trinity Hotel, Gardai from Pearse Street Station, the DSP Office clerks, passers-by amongst others) are kept at bay.
The standards that Ray maintains are nothing short of simplistic excellence. His customers ‘keep coming back’ for more! And they’ve told me this, personally, when conducting my primary research.
As mentioned, there is an understated passion at play here. You don’t do what Ray McCabe does without drive and a will to succeed. The delight that is McCabe’s Deli is the delicious food coupled with unassuming, humble and earthy staff. Badim and Davina are fitting members of Ray’s Team.
You can select from Full Irish breakfasts, Deli rolls of all descriptions (with a Dublin twist of course), Customised sandwiches on the freshest, most wholesome bread, Scones, Pastries – have you seen their sausage rolls? – even Banana leaden piping hot-porridge.
Whatever you need to fuel your day, you’ll find it at McCabe’s Deli.
I leave you (for now) with this brief anecdote from the Deli yesterday morning: A local (I assume) down-and-out came into the café. You know ‘the sort’. A person you wouldn’t be inclined to sit beside in comfort, shall we say. Unlike other establishments, where this man would be shown the door (immediately), Ray stood and listened to him, empathised with him and ran a brew for him. The man then sat down contented, happy to find a brief respite from his chaotic lifestyle beyond the glass doors and traffic lights… he sat beside two of Dublin’s Finest!
Truth told, it was a simple gesture, from Ray.
And yet, it was a huge gesture.
So, a word of advice for y’all, always look around you!