The Hungry Bookworm Loughrea
This quirky venue with delicious menu offerings and eclectic decor has long been a favourite of mine so I am really keen to share it with anyone who hasn’t yet stumbled upon it. If you’re visiting the West, head to Loughrea, only a half an hour from Galway city and enjoy a brunch, lunch, early supper or simply a good coffee and a scone in this charming spot.
Creativity and Determination
It is a reflection of the creativity and vision of Alice Beck and Angela Broderick who took early retirement from teaching and the Health Board respectively to launch The Hungry Bookworm in 2011.
Alice is originally from Thomastown in Kilkenny and Angela is a Loughrea local, but they shared a dream to open a cafe/restaurant or possibly a book shop in County Galway. This delightful venue checks both boxes but the food and hospitality aspect far outweighs the book shop which has become integral but secondary.
“People told us we were crazy to start something like this in a recession” said Alice, “anyone in business locally advised against it but we persevered and against all odds, we have grown from strength to strength”.
Both Angela and Alice believe that the combination of a passion for food and an interest in experimentation is the secret to creating a winning menu. Most of their chefs have not been formally trained, but are passionate cooks with instinctive flair.They have all bought into the vision that the two partners share and embrace their philosophy of sourcing local products and trying interesting combinations.
The Book Shop
The name “The Hungry Bookworm” is a perfect compilation of their interest in food and reading and so very memorable.
The second hand books lining the walls in bookshelves add atmosphere to the cafe. You could be forgiven for thinking you had wandered into a Bohemian library belonging to a bibliophile with a passion for food. The menu has vegetarian and gluten free options, an many tapas like portions if you prefer small bites. They change it regularly to keep it fresh and exciting.
The decor is talking point in itself, thrift store finds mingled with antiques and treasures which in many cases are of sentimental value to Alice and Angela. The cafe is a meeting spot for many Mums who love the fact that the child friendly corner, fully equipped with crayons, toys and games keeps little hands busy while their mothers enjoy great coffee, delicious food and a catch up.
Alice, Angela and their staff are warmly hospitable and are quite happy for their customers to sit back on one of the many comfortable chairs and relax without any pressure to leave. They both profess to have formed many friendships simply through meeting regulars who come so often that have become valued friends. It’s easy to see why! I always make a point of visiting regularly and the welcome is as much a delight as the food is.
The Outdoor Area
When weather allows, basking in the courtyard garden area of The Hungry Bookworm with a falafel and a chilled glass of white wine is a wonderfully mellow experience. The patio area has a cheerful Alice in Wonderland mural and enormous tomato plants flourish on the perimeter.
The “Bookworm” holds gigs once a month and encourage local creativity. They host poetry readings, musicians and local artists on a regular basis and have built up a considerable and well deserved following.
For more information on opening hours and menu options, pop over to their Facebook page here
And make sure The Hungry Bookworm is on your itinerary when you are next visiting East Galway.