A Growing Business
Dee Betuci- Toscana Restaurant
When I’m out and about I like to have a cocktail for lunch at Coppinger row or sit outside in the sun at Chez Max or stroll around the grounds of Dublin Castle. On a lazy day if there is no rain, I like to grab a sandwich in O’ Briens and stroll around Stephen’s Green and if it is really sunny I will skip the sandwich and get a Gino’s ice-cream. On a rainy day in Dublin there are some great places you can go visit or see. One of them is to go and see an afternoon show at the National Concert Hall, it’s a really nice thing to do on an afternoon that the rain is out. I also like to go for a stroll on the street & have a browse in the shops. Grafton street is one of my favourite streets, I also really like South William Street, around the Creative Quarter area is quite nice for shopping.
I also like to shop in Arnotts, Arnotts has always been a favourite of mine & Clerys is quite nice too. I tend to like the shops that have been around a long, long time. I just tend to feel they provide good customer service, particularly Arnotts, Brown Thomas & Clery’s – they’re really quite nice to shop in.
For after work drinks, there’s a quirky little pub I love. In general , I don’t usually drink in Temple Bar but I do like the Ha’Penny. It reminds me of the days when I was just qualified , a big gang of us would go. It’s a lovely, quirky, quaint little place to have a drink and full of locals and regulars. If I’m heading out for dinner I like to go to Coppinger Row I find it warm and welcoming. I really like Chez Max too, it’s a small little gem perched right outside the gates of Dublin Castle, it has a lovely atmosphere inside with a real old-world feel. It feels like you’ve been transported to Paris!
How did Toscana get started?
I’ve been working in the catering industry all my life, I worked my way through college in the catering industry. Through my catering work I met my husband who is a chef. He was travelling through Europe to get experience and he came to Dublin and we met, joined forces and Toscana was born. Toscana is a family run restaurant as it is a combination of myself, my husband, my husband’s brother and his wife. When we were looking at Toscana, we weren’t just looking at the location of the restaurants. We wanted to grow our own produce for the restaurants, so we found an old farmhouse in Wicklow with two acres. Here we raise hens and ducks and use use their eggs for some nice light desserts and filled pastas. We grow a range of salads, herbs, vegetables and fruit in the summer. Our produce changes by season as does our menu. Anything we cannot produce we source through Irish local suppliers. We recently won the “best grow it yourself restaurant in Ireland” award which we are thrilled about. A lot of people ask us why we do it, but for us the question is why not? Both my husband & his brother grew up on a farm so it is something they’ve always done and where their passion lies.
We opened the first restaurant outside of the city centre & that did well so we decided to open another one here on Dame Street . We wanted to appeal to locals & families and Dame Street seemed like the right location. My dad worked across the road in Dublin Castle & I spent most of my time waiting outside for him on the double yellow lines which are actually just outside Toscana now. I now can look out & it brings back memories, which may be what gave me that gentle nudge to choose this location. There are so many great locations in Dublin City Centre and we are happy to be located in one of them.