Northern Ireland

The Sooty Olive, award-winning Derry restaurant, to close due to rising costs

The Sooty Olive in the Waterside will close next week

Derry's "Sooty Olive" restaurant is to close later this month. Picture by The Sooty Olive.
Derry's Sooty Olive restaurant is to close later this month. Picture by The Sooty Olive.

Popular Derry restaurant, The Sooty Olive, has announced it is to close just days after its owner was named “best chef” in a major industry awards ceremony.

Located on Spencer Road in the Waterside, the restaurant also won an award last year for ‘best emerging Irish cuisine’ at the Irish Restaurants’ Awards.

Proprietor Sean Harrigan opened the restaurant 11 years ago, naming the business after a “fly” used in fly-fishing to catch trout. He was named ‘best chef’ in the Ulster Regional Irish Restaurant Awards 2024 just last week.

He said on Monday that the decision to close later this month was due to rising costs.

In a post on social media, the Derry chef said: “After 11 years almost to the day, our journey is coming to an end.

“We will be closing the restaurant on Sunday 21st of April due to every-increasing difficulties in running a small restaurant with ever increasing costs. We have had an amazing 11 years. A heartfelt thanks to our staff over the years, our suppliers and, of course, you our amazing customers.

“So if there’s vouchers to be used this is the week. Thank you all so much for the memories.”

SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan said news of the restaurant’s closure was damaging for Derry and devastating for Sooty Olive’s staff.

Mr Durkan said: “There is an urgent overdue need for the Executive to act to support local jobs and save local businesses who have been hit by astronomical increases in the cost of doing business”.

He suggested new rate bills published last week could be the “last straw” for many struggling businesses.

He wished Mr Harrigan and his staff well for the future.