Jes Murphy – Proprietor and Chef, Kai Cafe & Restaurant
Why did you choose Galway to start your business?
Being from New Zealand, when I came and experienced Galway I deeply loved that it was beside the sea. It was like a home away from home instantly, and I felt overwhelmed by the acceptance I received.
As soon as I embraced what Galway City had to offer, I instantly fell in love. The West of Ireland’s lifestyle surpases that of others, and from a Chef’s perspective, Galway has the freshest fish and best local produce in Ireland, hands down. I was immediately enticed and excited to establish my restaurant here.
How does Galway support and nurture your business?
Galway City’s West End, where we are located, has always been a phenomenal support to us since we opened our doors. The sense of community here is overwhelming … We get our laundry done right next door, our locksmith is around the corner, we get all our newspapers from the newsagents across the road, and some of our freshest local vegetables and fruit comes from a family run establishment only two doors down. Along with that, we send our customers to the local bars, which we enjoy to pop into ourselves.
We have had such support and nurturing since we began the business and have always been welcomed with wide opened arms, which I feel is paramount to our success. All the business owners we have been affiliated with have been superb and made starting a business so enjoyable.
What advice can you offer to a potential business considering Galway as a venue?
Opening a business in Galway is a great and positive move as it has that element that other cities lack or simply do not have. It is a hub for the amazing and talented people of Ireland. The support is there from your bank manager to the people involved with helping you source a premises.
There is immense sincerity and positivity in this city, and a welcoming hand to guide you on your way is waiting for you once you arrive. The capability of the Galway workforce from the University and college graduates, to the trades men and women, is commendable and recognised internationally, which is a plus for any business that needs able employees to help succeed in business.
How would you describe Galway to someone who has never been here?
Even though I am originally from New Zealand, I now recognise Galway as my home and my life will always be here.
It is a quirky, bohemian city where a bartender may be studying for a PhD or somebody making you a coffee could be an upcoming artist or musician.
Everything is so exciting about Galway City, with its constant lively buzz, amazing social scene and with a sense of family and culture.
The city has grown and excelled in recent years- from boutiques, to quaint B&Bs, to underground hidden entertainment, to top-quality sourced food.
From a cooking perspective, it is interesting to witness the metamorphosis of peoples thoughts towards food. Seven years ago, I would not have been able to get through 1 bag of razor clams a night, I go through 7 kilos now! Everybody’s perception of artisan produce has changed in recent times, Galway is booming even more because of this.