Housed in one of the oldest buildings in Galway’s Latin Quarter, the renowned Freddy’s on Quay Street has got a brand new feel, becoming more than a casual eatery but transforming into a space where the dishes are divine and the memories last a lifetime.
During Covid, Sophie McLaughlin and Dara Coyne left their jobs to return to Galway and take over the running of Dara's family business. In order to get to know the story of (formerly Fat) Freddy’s we sat down to chat with Dara Coyne...
In the cosy low lit dining area, surrounded by exposed stone walls that date back hundreds of years and the prints and artwork that have spanned its 35 years of business, the beloved Freddy’s restaurant has undergone some major renovations to become the welcoming space it is today. For the interior design, Sophie knew the direction in which she wanted to take Freddy's to create the new look and feel for the space, while being sympathetic to the old tenement building housing the restaurant.
Upon your first step inside, Freddy’s will have you feeling the comforts of home, leading to the creations of lifelong memories and connections. “Everyone in Galway has memories of Fat Freddy’s, I remember all my friends' birthday parties were here, first dates were here, I’ve seen people get engaged here, one of the guys here won the lottery. Hundreds of students have worked here over the years.” Dara recalled fondly. “It’s been here so long that a lot of people have really good memories, the whole point of the renovations was to bring all those people back here again.“
From a young age, Dara helped out in the restaurant; starting out folding napkins and washing dishes. Every Friday, Freddy’s would be the destination of choice for pizza with his family after going swimming. Thinking back on his time spent in the restaurant, Dara said; "I remember I was in here one night when I was eight, the electricity went out, the pizza oven was still hot, so we sat around for a couple of hours, eating pizzas from the oven."
During the renovations, they discovered an original recipe book from 1990. Delighted with their find, they decided to share the recipes with the customers by removing them from the book, framing them and placing them where people can try to recreate the dishes for themselves at home.
The origin of the restaurant’s name derives from a 1960s San Francisco comic book. The caricature of Fat Freddy’s Cat first appeared as a character in The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers strip and the colourful orange cat can be found in the décor of the restaurant’s interior.
After Freddy’s lengthy renovations, Dara, Sophie and their team are excited to welcome back the local community into a space they once fell in love with. Everyone has old memories of their time in Freddy’s and now they want to share the opportunity with others to create new ones. We’ll meet you there.