When Mrs Myrtle Allen and her daughter Fern founded the Crawford Café in 1986, they instilled it with the Ballymaloe ethos, taking quality food and cooking it simply, but beautifully.
Since then, many Ballymaloe chefs and graduates of Ballymaloe Cookery School, including Rachel Allen, earned their stripes here. In the early days, food was prepared at Ballymaloe House and transported in a little red van to the café each morning. These days, the menu is all freshly prepared in-house under the management of Sinead Doran.
The Crawford Café sits peacefully between the bustle of the city centre plaza and the quiet of the art gallery. The atmosphere of the art gallery is carried into the café, thanks to the light-filled and airy space, the muted tones and the regularly changing artwork. Large pots of scented sweet geranium and lemon balm sit comfortably in the deep-set windows, alongside an eclectic mix of fine-bone china and refurbished bistro chairs.
The café is a natural meeting spot in the heart of the city. Over the years, it has hosted family celebrations, including weddings, birthdays and engagements. It has also been a creative space for art students, a lunch venue for business professionals and an afternoon tea break for tourists and locals.