Hill Street Hatch to close after year in business and over 30,000 guests

Belfast city centre food hatch shuts having ‘served its purpose’

By Claire Cartmill
Monday, 2nd May 2022, 6:00 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd May 2022, 7:59 pm
The award-winning enterprise was the brainchild of Ryan Crown and Ema O’Kane
The award-winning enterprise was the brainchild of Ryan Crown and Ema O’Kane

Popular pop-up food space, Hill Street Hatch, has announced the closure of its Belfast city centre business.

Located in the Cathedral Quarter, the award-winning enterprise was the brainchild of Ryan Crown and Ema O’Kane inspired by the food scene in New York City.

Their plan was to help take the risk out of new culinary ventures in Northern Ireland, by allowing entrepreneurs to trial their ideas with a ‘shop window’ and since then, the pop-up space has fed over 30,000 people. The Hatch provided a space, community and opportunity to test ideas and meet customers face-to-face.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

In a statement the duo announced: “When we moved back to Belfast from New York, we had a notion to do something a little different. Throughout the five years, we lived and worked in New York, we had always taken great pleasure in seeking out the cities most fun, innovative and exciting culinary experiences. From Slice Stores and Cocktail Bars to Michelin Star eateries, we revealed in making the most of New York’s inimitable and ever-changing hospitality scene.

“Often as we reflected on each experience, we would brainstorm about what something similar would look like at home, or how each could work when paired with the amazing talent pool of chefs and bartenders in Belfast.

“So in 2020, when we returned to Belfast with the pandemic in full flow, we saw an opportunity through a Hatch on Hill Street to bring our project to life, and begin giving culinary entrepreneurs a launchpad to try out and scale their big ideas. Looking back on that decision a year later, we’re so happy with what we managed to achieve - hosting eight unique concepts, 20,000 social followers, and 30,000+ guests all in one little Hatch, bringing a sense of excitement and energy into the area of Belfast arguably worst affected by the pandemic.

“Now that restrictions are beginning to cease and people can visit restaurants again, we feel like Hill Street Hatch has served its purpose in keeping people excited about, and proud of the culinary scene in Northern Ireland throughout the pandemic. The aims of our project have been successfully completed, and it’s simply time to move on to new projects.

“A real highlight of the year has been the people we’ve met and worked with, so we simply want to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported us.

“From our fellow business owners in the Cathedral Quarter providing us with invaluable knowledge and know-how, our colleagues and mentors on Ignite NI’s Propel programme, or the eight chefs that trusted us to help them launch their big idea in Hill Street Hatch - we’re so thankful for your trust, support and talent. We’ve loved keeping up with their continued success and are excited to develop these relationships further in years to come. Thank you, and here’s to what’s next!”