13 July 2023
By Mary Bermingham
It’s a family affair at Elbow Lane Restaurant in Cork as brothers Harrison and Ronan Sharpe take the top jobs at this iconic Cork eaterie.
Cork’s iconic Smokehouse and Brewery is moving to celebrate its 10th Anniversary next year. Ronan (age 28) who is now the new general manager joins his older brother Harrison Sharpe (age 30), currently the head chef of Elbow Lane to lead one of the city’s best-loved eateries into its next decade.
The brothers have long dreamt of working together and this came to fruition at Elbow Lane; a restaurant famous for fostering young talent and for having an enviable staff training and mentoring programme. Chef, Aishling Moore started out in the kitchen at Elbow Lane before leaving to set up goldie.
Located on Oliver Plunkett Street, Elbow Lane, best known for its open-fire cooking and succulent meat dishes, is part of the progressive Market Lane Restaurant Group which also includes Market Lane, goldie, ORSO and Blackrock Castle restaurants.
“We are both delighted to be given the opportunity and responsibility to head up at this very special restaurant,” says Harrison. “We bring very different skills and strengths to the business which actually makes it better as a whole. Working with a sibling means that your patience is never-ending. You both share the same goals and want the business to succeed. Being able to trust each other implicitly makes running a business so much easier.”
Ronan adds “Harrison is the best chef I know, and I am enormously proud to be working alongside him. We can be totally honest with eachother in a way that only siblings can, and I know he will always have my back and vice versa. “
The brothers are very clear about their vision for the business. “We want to build on the restaurant’s great reputation and to continue to provide a unique experience that leaves a lasting impression on both new and repeat customers” says Ronan.
“We have amazing colleagues working with us at Elbow Lane and we want to continue to provide them with all of the opportunities they need to excel. We have just started an in-house graduate programme where staff can study as they work to achieve real, transferrable skills while being paid a salary. This way the team can help ensure that all elements of the restaurant meet, anticipate, and exceed the changing needs of our diners.
The Sharpe brothers come from a family steeped in the business of food, farming, and hospitality. Brady Quality Meats was set up by the family and mum, Mary, is a third-generation publican at the famous Brady’s Bar in Waterford as well as the producer of ‘Irish Gourmet Butter’. The boys grew up helping in these businesses from an early age. Later, Harrison did his degree in culinary arts and Ronan in hospitality management; both studying at the Waterford Institute of Technology. They loved the fast-paced culinary scene in Cork and gradually moved to the city when the right opportunities arose.
Other developments include the creation of a fermentation room where Harrison can develop more of the by-products of the Brewery to enhance his dishes. This includes not only vinegar, mead, kombucha and malt expressions, but also ingredients like miso and soy. As with all of the Market Lane group of restaurants, sustainability is at the heart of the operation at Elbow Lane and while the restaurant is best known for its delicious steaks and low and slow-cooked ribs and pork cuts, Sharpe has developed strong relationships with local growers, and vegetables are increasingly taking more of the limelight on his plates.