by Jimmy Rhatigan

ITS legacy is probably that it delivered one of the best feeds in the South East to its thousands of devoted customers over 57 years.

The Café Roma at the heart of John Street will sadly be no more from June 3 next.

The fantastically family-run eaterie was a hugely popular spot for grub over the years and although it had been ‘takeaway’ only during the so-called Covid Pandemic it will always be remembered as a super eating house, a great food experience and last but not least, it boasted a warm and friendly staff. 

Typically gracious and ever thankful Daniela and Domenico of the Pesce family have sent their heartfelt thanks to customers, staff and suppliers for their support over the years.

The not so surprise closure comes hot on the heels of another local café, The Ground Floor, High Street, another house of food respected and loved by locals and visitors.

We say ‘no surprise’ because in the present climate there is very little if any security and Government back-up for small family businesses in particular while big brothers, Data Centres, international business giants, pharmaceuticals and others are bowed and cow-towed to.

At another time the corner shop, usually a family-run affair was the life and soul of local business. 


That was until the supermarket hit cities and towns all over Ireland crushing the tried and trusted and went next door to closing the majority of favourite shopping spots.

Of course we have to accept change and it is inevitable that there will always be competition in the market place but we will have to ask the question: 

Is competition always fair as it is obvious that the big guns of the hyper and super market scene will naturally have more cash to splash by buying in bulk, which many smaller stores couldn’t or can’t do because of frugal purses.

Hence the super market rules the roost as bulk buying means cheaper prices and inevitably the death of family outlets.

Make no mistake about it, the supermarket won’t always be king either. 

That business has learned quickly how to get the best in the market by introducing pay as you go machines where customers can take their goods, pay for them, pack them and head into the day or night air.


The self-service machines will, we suspect be the beginning of the end of a new form of shopping where it will be pay as you go throughout stores meaning that there will be little or no room for staff to keep the doors open by taking care of customers’ needs.

It will be self-service all the way with machines totting up the contents of shopping baskets and collecting the cash or cards (sadly, most likely a majority of the shoppers may be using cards).

We are not suggesting that anything like the former is the reason for casualties in the café and restaurant business but we are pointing the accusing finger at Government which has a habit of cushioning the road for big business while showing little or no respect or even interest for smaller shops.


What Government and its allies may forget is that stores of all shapes and sizes attract business from locals and visitors to towns and cities throughout our country and what Revenue may gain on the swings it could well lose on the roundabouts.

Sadly, we do know that what we fondly call chippers have been struggling for some time. Even the big hitters in our capital city are finding things tough despite having excellent reputations for sit-down and takeaway food over the decades.

We will always have happy memories of sitting down to a steak, onions and chips in The Café Rome or ambling across John Street while dipping into a bag containing a beautifully crispy fish ‘n’ chips.

The world is changing and it is not our intention to encourage people to become Luddites. 

At the same time we should be careful what we wish for; do not accept changes that are foisted on us, remembering that the Governments of the world and wealthy power-mad tycoons across the Globe simply want to control us and how we live. Full stop.


We know that many types of business are struggling, including our pubs, many of which have already perished.

The Irish Pub is famous across the world but if we are not careful we will be talking about all pubs in the past tense. 

That would be both sad and shameful and will be a real tragedy if we allow a collective closure to come to pass.

A few pints of porter and a fish ‘n’ chip on the way home!

We must do everything possible to protect The Irish Pub or else the time will come, sooner than we might think where we will be asking the damning question: Where would you get a few pints or a pudding supper?

The question may seem frivolous to some but I kid you not, it is worth mulling over.

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