18 October 2022
By Tom Collins
Small business continues expansion
Ten years ago this week, Jonathan Sheehan opened a little café in Turner’s Cross, he was one of two staff and they had six seats for customers. Back then, LISHH Café was Jonathan’s’ brainchild and the ethos was simple: Serve delectable dishes and sweet treats using only the best local Cork produce and ingredients with a smile.
It is an ethos that remains today and has proved hugely effective for Jonathan as it has seen him grow LISHH exponentially over the last decade, at the same time firmly establishing them in the hearts of their loyal customers and the general public.
Fast forward to 2022, there are now eighteen employees and LISHH Café and locals will know they are now situated in a significantly larger premises at Dosco Business Park on South Douglas Road.
LISHH has become synonymous with tasty food and great customer service. The café has extensive menus including breakfast, lunch, starters, dinner, coffee, and dessert. In addition to this, they also offer bespoke catering services for all types of events and occasions. Most recently LISHH has been assisting other hospitality businesses with recent chef shortages, providing their desserts and dessert menus to restaurants who need them.
The brand is widely renowned and respected across Leeside, with the café, catering, and Jonathan himself winning a host of accolades over the years, including:
- Best Café in Cork for five years – Business Cork Magazine
- Best Catering in Cork in 2019 – Business Cork Magazine
- Café of the Year – 2018 – Hi Style Awards
- Businessman Of the Year 2019 – Hi Style Awards
- Best Customer Service 2021 – Business Cork Magazine
All the while, the company has survived a global pandemic and has further expanded recently with the opening of another side venture at the weekend – The Egg Café – which was in the Black Market but has now relocated to Cork’s best gastro-economic hub, the Marina Market.
It has been a whirlwind journey for Jonathan, and he is quick to pay tribute to his partner and their families, in addition to staff, customers, and local suppliers who have supported LISHH over the years:
He said: “I could not have done any of this without my partner Patrick, he is always by my side, he has been a rock for me and our families have also been an unwavering support to us throughout both the highs and the lows.
“We have also been so fortunate with our staff and our customers over the years, and I am incredibly lucky to have the team I have. I recently promoted two of my staff – Rita and Kathriona – to both kitchen supervisor and restaurant supervisor and they have both flourished so much in their roles. Because of this I have been able to side-step a little to develop The Egg Bar. I never have to worry because I know that my staff all support me and support each other.
Because there is such a small team of us, we really have become family. I see them like part of my family now and we are all a part of each other’s lives now outside of LISHH, from births, to weddings, to funerals, and anniversaries.
We always try to support and nurture staff to help them to grow both personally and professionally and recently one of my younger staff who joined LISHH when he was fifteen, doing the washing up, has gone on to MTU to study to be a chef. Watching and being a part of his journey has been amazing.”
Speaking on pivoting through the pandemic, Mr. Sheehan added: “Keeping the brand going throughout the pandemic was challenging but our customers were incredible, and we would not be here without all of their support over the years. I would just like to say a heartfelt thank you to all of them.
It took us three days to set up our online web shop which allowed us to start doing home delivery services. We could also see how much some of our elderly customers appreciated seeing us, and seeing their faces light up was so heart-warming. This is something that we will always strive for – just make someone’s day a little bit brighter or make their lives easier with some tasty food and a warm smile.”
“We’re very Irish in the sense that we feel that a nice sweet treat and a cup of tea or coffee can help make a bad day better and that’s all we want to do, just have a positive impact on someone’s day with our food and our hospitality – it’s our job to help them along the way and give them a bit of joy.
“We are extremely excited for the future of LISHH, the opening of The Egg Bar at Marina, and meeting new and old faces in the near future and beyond.” Jonathan concluded.
LISHH Café is open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 3pm. The Egg Bar at the Marina Market is open from 8am to 6pm daily.