There’s a pub on the corner Yarnhall Street that faces the entrance of DIT on Bolton Street. In a former life, this building was once a chemical and pharmaceutical factory, known as Bodkin & Company. It was owned by Colm Bodkin’s father.
“One day, he decided he wanted to set up a pub. He just went ahead and did it,” explains Colm. Bodkins Pub was born on 4th of July in 1987, making it 30 years old this summer.
In those three decades, it has gone through a few iterations with Colm himself dipping in and out between working in restaurants in the USA and looking after his young family. In the last year, the time was right for Colm and his wife Alexa to refocus their sights on the family business. In mid-December of 2016 he opened the doors to BoCo, a pizza place with a name that harks back to the original factory that this space once housed.
The decor carries hints of this building’s former life, and also happens to be on the tail-end of the industrial interior trend.
“We wanted a bit of that warehouse factory feel to the space,” Colm tells me. “We stripped back everything and used the old floorboards to make tables. Our light fixtures are made from leftover plumbing. We did a lot of up-cycling.”
The result is pleasing to the eye but it does have an effect on our conversation. The space is busy, stuffed with Bolton Street students celebrating the end of term time, and there are no soft surfaces to absorb any of the din made from those enjoying their dinner. For me, it added to the buzz but those looking for a quieter dining experience might take note.
They’re doing things a little differently here at BoCo. Their wood-fired oven is French rather than the more common Italian. Instead of the traditional mosaic tiles (“I don’t have time for mosaic tiles,” laughs Colm) it’s been surrounded by a neat looking sheet of corrugated iron.
The last little detail is in the flour. Instead of Type 00 Italian flour, they’re using a Slovakian flour which gives the dough a subtle tang. Their pizza chef Joseph Funtak is from Croatia who works with Colm and Colm’s wife Alexa to design the menu.
“We’ve got a really good resource of students to test our pizza on,” says Colm. “We handed out pizzas to the students across the road to the students a month before we opened.”
The testing has paid off. There are twelve regular pizzas on the menu and a pop-up pizza that changes monthly.
We go for the regulars, one an Italian-inspired mix of artichoke, Macroom buffalo mozzarella and parmesan (€15). The other has its roots in Ireland, topped with black pudding, goats cheese and sweetened with Highbank Orchard Syrup from Kilkenny (€15).
Chicken wings (€8) arrive looking a little over-singed but they’ve just been given an enthusiastic blast in the wood-fired oven. I would have loved a touch more of the spicy sauce on the chicken because it’s damn good. The accompanying blue cheese sauce does its job of cooling the palate nicely.
Dessert is a very boozy plate of chocolate ice cream served with crushed biscotti and drowning in Mas Amiel (€6), a French dessert wine. I’m not sure if it is quite suitable for a designated driver/tee-totaller but I dive right in and feel all the better for it.
Drinks-wise, there are wines by the glass, a zingy homemade lemonade and plenty of craft beers, many selected with pizza in mind. There are around six Irish beers alongside Metalman Pale Ale, Black Donkey Rye PA, Big hop Red Rascals and Pabst Blue Ribbon on draft.
“We don’t want to be categorised,” says Colm. “We’re not an Italian restaurant or a New York City pizza parlour. We want to do an Irish pizza in a space where you’d feel comfortable having a pint.”
57 Bolton Street
Words: Aoife McElwain
Photo: Killian Broderick