Delivering the Goods - 10 of the Best Speciality Grocery Stores offering Collection & Delivery Services

Ireland is fortunate to have some outstanding speciality food and grocery stores and, for many discerning shoppers, the quality and service that they provide is making a big difference during this ‘stay at home’ time with its many restrictions - and extra cooking. And, as well as good quality basic necessities, these wonderful stores sell plenty of the fun stuff too! 

1. Rua Café & Deli
Castlebar, Co Mayo

The younger retail sister of the McMahon family’s excellent Café Rua on New Antrim Street, this is the first port of call for many food lovers visiting the town and stocks a wide range of the delicious foods and ingredients that have been served in the café for over a decade. The shop is open ‘in a more limited capacity’ during Covid-19 restrictions and you’ll find terrific artisan products from all over Ireland and beyond. But promoting ‘The Best of the West’ is the main theme, so local producers such as Andarl Farm, Kelly’s of Newport, Dozio’s and Velvet Cloud are especially proudly presented, along with the Rua in-house ranges (including a brown bread making kit complete with delicious Cuinneog buttermilk). Delicious hand made Irish chocolate – including Easter eggs – is a special treat. Contact-free collection is available (to order call 094 928 6072, Mon-Sat 10am-2pm, or email deli@caferua.com) and orders can also be delivered locally (5km radius, minimum order €20).

2. Avoca
Kilmacanogue Co Wicklow

Avoca may have its origins in weaving and Irish crafts, but it’s their addictive food offering that’s earned them the most fans in recent years and they’ve stepped up to the plate to serve the loyal customers who are currently unable to browse their tempting foodhalls. Instead, you can shop everything from their Food Market range for delivery or collection. The delivery service operates within a 10km radius of the Rathcoole, Kilmacanoge, Dunboyne, Ballsbridge, Monkstown and Malahide stores (order from individual stores Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, €50 minimum order for free delivery). There’s also a special shopping service for at-risk groups at several stores (Kilmacanoge, Rathcoole and Dunboyne). A useful starter list on the Avoca website suggests favourites in all categories including bakery, fruit & veg, butchery, pre-cooked meals, cakes & treats, store cupboard essentials – and Easter eggs. https://www.avoca.com/food-ordering-collection-and-delivery-service

3. Ardkeen Quality Food Store
Waterford City

Locally owned and managed by the Jephson family since 1967, this extraordinary independent supermarket has earned a national reputation thanks to the family’s commitment to quality and community. A one-stop-shop for both everyday and gourmet needs, the shelves are caringly stocked with the finest local artisan produce alongside a butchery counter, fish counter, fresh fruit and vegetables, delicatessen, barista coffee bar, juice bar, florist, off-licence, cookshop offering fresh meals to take home and much more. (Their website’s Food Heroes menu says it all about the philosophy.) They offer local delivery at a charge of €6.95 within a 5km radius, with same day delivery usually available for orders placed before 7am Mon-Sat, although a delay of several days is to be expected during the Covid-19 restrictions period. (International delivery can also be arranged under normal circumstances.) https://www.ardkeen.com/about/shipping-delivery

4. Cavistons Food Emporium
Glasthule, Co Dublin
A Glasthule destination since 1947, the Caviston family’s unique fish shop, deli and speciality food store offers an extensive choice of speciality food products, and a wide range of whitefish and shellfish including live crab, lobster and oysters in season. Home smoked salmon is a speciality - and so is old-fashioned service, which includes providing some well-thumbed cookery books to assist shoppers. Next door, complementing the food store, their celebrated seafood restaurant (temporarily closed) normally offers spanking fresh seafood dishes. However the shop remains open for limited hours, (Mon-Sat, 8.30am-6pm), and they have a well organised contactless ordering system for delivery to your car boot. You email your list and phone number to orders@cavistons.com and next day, when it is ready, they will call for payment. Then, when you’re outside the shop, you call them and a staff member delivers the order to your car boot. (NB Phone orders are currently only available for those with difficulty using email.).

5. Coolanowle Foodhall
Carlow, Co Carlow
A new venture for Jimmy and Bernadine Mulhall of Coolanowle Country House and organic farm at Ballickmoyler, this impressive organic butchery, deli and café opened in Carlow town centre in late autumn 2019, with the bistro upstairs following in February. Thanks to their reputation in the area and at the weekly markets they attend in the Dublin area and nearby Kilkenny, the shop took off and the café quickly established itself as a popular meeting place for shoppers. The butchery specialises in the superb organic meats from their own farm, and they also retail other equally carefully sourced products, notably the local Carlow Farmhouse Cheese range and others from The Little Milk Company (GCG 2020 Irish Breakfast Awards winner, Dairy category), of which they are members. Although the café and bistro are closed temporarily, the butchery and deli remain open Thu-Sat 9am-5pm. To order in advance for fast collection call 059 911 7391 (they can drop it to your car); all Foodhall products are also available for free local delivery.

6. The Counter
Letterkenny

Belying its unpromising location in an industrial retail park, Richard Finney’s wine shop, coffee bar and deli is a gem that is keenly sought out by lovers of quality food and drink. From the sharp black and white exterior to the cool interior, it’s all about presenting the best produce to best advantage - and boy do they deliver on the promise of ‘Your one stop "weekend treat" heavenly outlet’. The food normally offered on their simple and delicious breakfast and lunch menus is healthy, modern and super tasty (Badger & Dodo coffee, Scarpello sourdough, Irish farmhouse cheeses, cured meats …) and it’s also a brilliant place to shop for gifts, including an imaginative range of hampers offered on-line. Currently open as an essential service, The Counter’s food and wine supplies can be ordered online or by phone, for delivery locally (€5 charge; over €100 is free) or collection (Mon-Sat, 2-4pm; orders are placed in car boot, or left out when customers arriving on foot are ready to collect).

7. Thyme Out
Dalkey Co Dublin

“Fresh, wholesome, tasty and always gone at the end of the day”, that's the philosophy at David and Berna Williams's lovely food shop and deli, where freshly cooked evening meals are ready in the fridge and all prepared food is made on site. Ingredients are top notch: Glenilen dairy products; Roscarbery bacon pieces, rashers, free range sausages, puddings; Crocker's organic eggs; Helen Gee jams; Chez Emily handmade Chocolates... They are currently open for reduced hours (9am-3pm); place orders for collection before 2pm by phone (01-285 1999) or email info@thymeout.ie. A local delivery service is also available, for customers who can’t visit the store (deliveries after 3pm). Top quality retail products – pasta, dairy products, chocolates, wines, 3fe coffee are available as usual, as well as all their breads, home bakes, deli salads, sambos, take home meals - and great new ‘Get Well Soon’ Food Box.

8. The Country Market
Howth, Co Dublin

Visitors to Howth tend to stay around the harbour area, but there are some nice little places 'up in the village'. Just above the church, past the flower shop, this prettily presented independent food store, deli and café is where locals go for the speciality foods, wines and treats that wouldn't be in supermarkets, as well as everyday supplies, including household goods, fresh fruit & veg and newspapers. Speciality foods stocked include a good range of Irish artisan produce and you'll spot many favourite brands (the superb Le Tartine sourdough breads baked nearby at Baldoyle, Glenisk and Glenilen dairy products, Traditional Cheese Company products, Cookies of Character...) alongside comparable items from, say, Wales and Scotland. There is also a great deli range, some ready meals and tempting desserts. The café upstairs (temporarily closed) is a popular spot for a daytime bite, or just to pick up a coffee to go and they do an excellent free delivery service locally, that would put the supermarkets to shame.

9. Sheridans Cheesemongers
Carnaross, Co Meath

An old railway building provides an atmospheric warehouse and shop for the cheesemongers who have done so much to change the way we buy and care for cheese in Ireland. Brothers Seamus and Kevin Sheridan started the business in Galway, where it still prospers, but this has been their headquarters since 2007. Their cheeses are kept here in a temperature controlled environment and only released at the peak of their perfection. The wonderfully aromatic shop sells not only an irresistible selection of cheeses, but all manner of artisan good things, many of them seasonal and most of them local. They’re remaining open at their counters @dunnesstores and the Galway and Meath shops “to keep you stocked with the fun stuff”, but they also have a great range of treats available online including Sheridans Meal Kits, handmade pizza bases, and Grilled Cheese Combos. Deliveries Tue-Fri, €10 charge on orders under €100.

10. Organico
Bantry Co Cork

Sisters Hannah and Rachel Dare run this popular bakery, food shop and vegetarian café near the centre of Bantry town. The bakery produces delicious breads, cakes, pizza etc, with spelt loaves a particular speciality, while the health food shop is well stocked with carefully selected products including fresh organic fruit and vegetables, local cheeses and some unusual wines (including Irish, Organic and Fair Trade), as well as natural remedies and cosmetics. Although the café is temporarily closed, the shop remains open (Tue-Sat, 10am-5pm, except for a cleaning break from 1.30 to 2.30pm) and they have an excellent online ordering system for a wide range of products, including bulk buy basics such as flour, rice and pasta. Some are in high demand and may be out of stock but - although deliveries are taking longer than usual to fulfil - long term product shortages are not envisaged. Organico deliver throughout Ireland, with orders up to 25kg costing just €4.95. Delivery usually takes a couple of days but allow 3-4 days now, in case of delays; call the shop on 027 51391 or email organicobantry@gmail.com to check on availability / progress of an order.
 

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