Plant-based trailblazers open second cafe in Sligo Town

Following on from the blowout success of her first business, Carolanne Rushe is set to open a second plant-based venture, ‘Sweet As… Diner and Deli’, this July in Sligo town.

Located on Markievicz Road along the Garavogue river, Sweet As… Diner will serve a fully plant-based menu in a casual diner setting. The new venture will focus on locally sourced seasonal ingredients in a significantly larger restaurant space with substantial kitchen facilities, along with an additional Deli shop, accessible by Holborn Street. The new business will hire 12 new staff immediately, with a total of 23 employed by Rushe between her two vegan-focused businesses.

The menu boasts a range of fresh and organic brunch and lunch options including Garlic Miso Mushrooms with Fermented Mustard Bechamel on Sourdough, a House Baked Flatbread with Coconut Cashew Yogurt, Romesco Sauce along with Slow-roasted Vegetables, Pickled Red Onion and Chili Nuts.

A new kids menu will include Chocella Toast, Baby Beans on Toast and locally-produced O’Hara’s Vegan Ice-Cream.

The Deli and Micro Bakery opens Monday to Friday 8am – 3pm, producing a line of vegan pastries, a broad lunch menu of hot pots, super salads and sandwiches and 3FE Coffee.

The Roots Of The Business

Carolanne Rushe began her career in food whilst travelling, spending some five years living in Italy, Australia and South Africa. In 2013, she completed the Ballymaloe Cookery School 12-week certificate and the following year began trading as a plant-based stall at the newly opened Strandhill People’s Market. She opened the doors to her first cafe a year later in 2015. The original cafe Sweet Beat Café will continue to run in tandem with Sweet As.

On Sligo and Vegan Food

Commenting on the demand for plant-based food in Sligo, Carolanne said: “When I initially moved back to Sligo from South Africa in 2014, there were very limited and poor options for vegans and vegetarians. The demand and increasing interest for fresh, organic wholefoods has led us to opening our second venture ‘Sweet As…’ this month. You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy good quality food which makes you feel good. I’m glad that Sligo today is such a vegan-friendly town with decent options in most cafes, and I am truly excited about the part which ‘Sweet As…’ will play in driving visitors to this wonderful town in the coming months and years.”

On Sustainability in Food

Since opening Sweet Beat in 2014, and even before that while running food stalls at markets in South Africa and Sligo, Rushe has been invested in sustainable production and delivery. Her staff have been trained in adapting a ‘zero waste’ ethos with food waste using methods such as dehydration and fermentation to maximise the use of ingredients.

She has been a constant champion for sustainable packaging and commented: “Since I began trading in the food markets of South Africa in 2013, I have used compostable packaging. It is easy to source and we have used Down2Earth Materials in Cork since 2014. In today’s climate, it is so important to us that we do not add to ever increasing amounts of plastics used in our industry. Our food is plant-based so naturally our packaging is too!”

On Local Suppliers

The new venture will source ingredients from a range of local suppliers including Knockvicar Organic, Carrowgarry and Croghan Organic Farms. In order to cut down on the carbon footprint of the business, all suppliers have been asked to deliver goods plastic-free. Coffee beans will arrive in reusable buckets and Knockvicar Organic Farm will deliver salad leaves in reusable containers.

On the Deli

To compliment the diner, a full vegan deli will operate from the Holborn Street entrance, with fresh baked vegan croissants, French pastries, tarts, quiches, house-made sandwiches, salad, soup and hotpots.

For more information, visit www.sweetas.ie or follow @sweet_as_sligo