Aidan Kelly of the Grill Shack, Donadea whose original hot sauce will be sold in Aldi from the end of May this year
Don’t you just love to hear good news and to feel positivity around certain people?
Aidan Kelly is one of those people and in the face of the spread of Covid-19 and the subsequent health restrictions, he could well be moaning here about the temporary closure of his restaurant, The Grill Shack at Donadea.
“I’m gutted for my 10 staff who will be drawing the dole next week,” said Aidan “But I know this will pass and we just have to get on with it!”
With extremely good nature, he stated he’d like to wish all mothers a happy Mother’s Day for Sunday next, especially his mother Roberta.
The Grill Shack original hot sauce, soon to be available in Aldi stores nationwide
A Kerry native, Aidan says above all, he wishes to express thanks to his wife, Aileen, mother of their two children Aoibhín and Laragh. “We met in Dungarvan years ago, and eight years ago, we moved to Kill, Co Kildare”. About 18 months ago, Aidan opened a restaurant at Roche’s, the ‘sinking pub’ at Donadea.
“It had been the smoking area but you know what the outside place had character so I looked at converting it into a restaurant. Now we have a quirky restaurant with a tree growing up through the roof, and another tree basically holding the structure up!
“People love the atmosphere and the menu, especially our sauces. Even up to Sunda last, the phone was ringing for reservations but we to look at social distancing and even with spreading the tables and taking out a few, it wasn’t feasible to keep going in these difficult times, putting staff and diners at risk. It was the practical — and right — thing to do”.
But Aidan isn’t idle at the moment. Having seen an advertisement by Aldi seeking applicants for their new ‘Grow with Aldi’, he applied and was one of 240 submissions.
It was the Grill Shack’s original hot sauce which he proposed (which incorporates jalapenos and chilli, sauce with a real kick) and Aidan was one of the 100 applicants called for interview to the Heritage Hotel, Portarlington last year.
“I had eight minutes to pitch to a buyer and I’m happy to say our hot sauce is one of 40 new Irish lines going onto Aldi shelves on May 31, 2020!
“Our sauce has very little allergens and is low on fat and sugars; it’s vegan and vegetarian friendly but goes great with meat too, so it seems to suit everyone! And it’s hot...
“There was a great buzz about the success of the sauce, and it just seems to be on trend at the moment, as is the restaurant. But for the moment, the restaurant is closed. However, let me take this opportunity to say a big thank to the wider community of Donadea, they embraced the Grill Shack, and up until the virus spread, we were flying.
"Thank you all for your support, and again, happy Mother’s Day to all mums and grans out there, I don’t know how you stay sane! I hope the restaurant and the rest of the country will be back to normal as soon as it's safe to do so.”
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