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Acorn Scholarship winner Daniel McLoughlin to open his own restaurant RockSalt

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Acorn Scholarship winner Daniel McLoughlin to open his own restaurant RockSalt

Previous Acorn Scholarship winner Daniel McLoughlin has announced the launch of his new restaurant RockSalt which opens later this month in Blackrock, Co. Louth, Ireland.

McLoughlin, who won The Caterer’s Acorn Scholarship bursary back in 2015, said at the time that his goal when winning the scholarship was to open his own business before he was 30 years old. Following mentoring and experience and using his time as an Acorn Scholar wisely, he is now on the cusp of achieving exactly what he set out to do with time to spare.

RockSalt will be operate as a health food restaurant on the main seafront promenade in Blackrock.


Describing the site as “Irelands newest lifestyle café”, McLoughlin will focus on creating a healthy and delicious food offering in a homely atmosphere with head chef Conor Prendergast. They will host yoga mornings in the café, morning jogs around the seaside paths and many more community lead activities. RockSalt will use the freshest ingredients and source the best local produce from farms in the area, and will open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and monthly themed evening dining. The restaurant also has its own coffee blend, which will be freshly roasted for them with coffee beans from Brazil, Sumatra and Kenya.

The 45-seater restaurant with additional seating for 25 outside has views of the seafront and has been designed with booth seating sourced from an old Hungarian tram, outside seating from a market in Holland and Italian cast Iron exterior lighting, bringing the tastes, flavours and look of the Mediterranean to Ireland.

McLoughlin studied International Business in Hotel Management in Shannon College of Hotel Management before moving to the UK where he joined the Arora Groups flagship Sofitel London Heathrow as a trainee manager. He then joined South Lodge (Exclusive Hotels) as the Camilla restaurant manager, which is where he won the Acorn Scholarship. Following his win, McLoughlin was mentored by James Horler, CEO of Ego Restaurants; Jonathan Reed, brand director of Paddy & Scott’s; and John Price, owner of Ginger Village Pubs. 


McLoughlin spent a considerable amount of time with Horler and after having spent six months’ worth of days off gaining an insight into casual dining, Horler employed him as general manager at his Ego Restaurant in Kenilworth.

McLoughlin later returned home to Ireland to launch a new company for an investor called Shoda Market Café which was a great success. Horler and Reed continue to support him with his new project.

Daniel McLoughlin wins 2015 Acorn Scholarship >>

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