Lunch just got a lot more exciting with the opening of Boojum in Limerick city centre. The casual Mexican burrito bar offers award winning food at great prices.
Boojum Marketing Manager Nuala McMenamin said: “Since we’ve been expanding the business and working on our expansion strategy, Limerick has always been high on our list. When we engaged with our customers they told us consistently that we should come to Limerick and it has been, without question, the number one requested location in all of Ireland so the decision was an easy one for Boojum.”
“Limerick is in an exciting era, the energy and passion is palpable as you walk about the city. It's a delight for us to be part of it,” added Nuala.
Boojum opened their doors earlier this year on Patrick Street, along the same street as the soon to be transformed Opera Site.
“We work very hard on choosing the right location for every Boojum. We saw the benefit of locating on a prime corner site with the benefit of huge volumes of passing traffic and public transport routes. The long glazed frontage means we are one of the first things people see when coming into the city centre. There is so much development in and around this part of Limerick so we can see the future potential of being located here and becoming engrained in the Limerick city centre transformation,” said Nuala.
Boojum’s Limerick store currently has 26 employees, headed up by General Manager Joe Nolan.
Traditionally their core customers have been students and young professionals but there has been a shift in the profile with a lot more families, shift workers and gym goers dining in and eating out of Boojum.
“We believe we have mass appeal, our food is fully customisable, rock up and have what you like. We are passionate about our food, it's the freshest, best about. No microwaves or freezers are on any of our sites and our meat is sourced from Irish farms only. All of our ingredients are locally sourced, except for our Mexican spices which, for authenticity and that great Boojum taste, are sourced direct from Mexico,” explained Nuala.
Insider tip - Nuala’s top recommendation after much deliberation on the one thing all customers should try from the menu: “Burritos, nachos, tacos, bowls... decisions, decisions. I'm going to be controversial here and say... bowl, filled with Mexican rice, fajita veg, pork, chorizo, sour cream, corn salsa, guac, roja, Chipotle (if they like a bit of heat). It's the best - I'm going to have to have that for lunch now!”
“Limerick has a pretty fantastic food scene right now, there are some fab eateries. We lived in Aroi, across the road from our store, when we were setting up and the Buttery was a must for breakfast. We met with Olivia O'Sullivan from Eat in Limerick when we opened, she is really raising the profile of all the great eateries Limerick has to offer. There is genuine passion and excitement around food in the city, the welcome we have received is testament to that.”
When Boojum first opened its doors to Limerick in February of this year there was a queue out the door. It has remained a popular eatery since day one.
“We have been absolutely blown away by the response! People willing to queue on the first day of trading to the public was very humbling. Our very first customers, Theresa and John McCormack were so lovely, their son told them about the store opening and they thought they would give it a try, they absolutely loved it and said they would definitely be back,” said Nuala.
"We have met some of the kindest most enthusiastic people in Limerick, everyone was so willing to help us get the store off the ground and make it a success. The Pudding agency helped steer us in the right direction when we initially came to Limerick. The Chamber of Commerce also proved very helpful in introducing us to the business community. We’ve been very impressed with the Council and statutory bodies involved in getting the restaurant open, it was a smooth process."
Nuala continued, "I have to say, we found the absolute biggest advocates Limerick city has to be the taxi drivers, what an education they provide! One guy lifted us and showed us all the sites more or less writing our sales plan! We also me an absolute gentleman who would not take a fare from us when he realised we were there to open a new restaurant - I don't know where else you would get it!
"Nigel Dugdale, a keen supporter of the city who runs the Twitter page @LimerickCityBiz was key in making introductions and mapping out the lay of the land."
Nuala explains it is due to more people than ever taking time out to travel extensively and want those experiences available at home - which is essentially how Boojum began.
“We're no longer satisfied with the cabbage and ham - although this still very much has its place especially Limerick ham! Our palates have diversified and we are willing to try new things, now more than ever. I also think we are much more health conscious and aware of the quality and provenance of the food we consume, street food presents a healthier, cost effective alternative to the usual fast food options” said Nuala.
Boojum was started by husband and wife team, John and Karen Bilzard. John, a Philadelphia native, met Karen in America while she was on a summer visa from Belfast. Being a Mexican food fanatic, John quickly introduced Karen to the burrito. Upon returning to Ireland they were unable to find a decent Mexican food place, so they decided to open their own burrito bar and Boojum was born in December 2007.
Boojum was then acquired by David and Andrew Maxwell, backed by Renatus investment partners in 2015. The brothers recently returned from a stint setting up restaurants in the states, really liked the Boojum format and saw potential to grow the brand. They wanted to bring the highly popular Boojum burritos to more people across Ireland and set about doing so with a very strategic plan.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be part of Limerick's thriving food scene and we are excited to see what the future will bring,” concluded Nuala.