Navan broadening its taste for new food experiences

Olivia King Oner

Navan has seen a surge of food places in recent years, particularly catering to those with a sweet tooth.

Last summer several new ice cream parlours were busy combatting the heatwave, including Melt Gelato, Scoopalicious and Yummy Creame's. Residents of Navan also have their pick of coffee shops, with new additions such as Mug & Bean and Aventura in the heart of the town.

Scoopalicious ice cream shop, Navan.

Like all things, different foods go in and out of trends. Last year, the bubble tea sensation came to Ireland and the UK. And so, it was no surprise that the opening of Nana's Tea on Trimgate St was of great interest.

Bubble tea from Nana's Tea & Sweet Spot.

With every colour and flavour imaginable, bubble tea is originally from Taiwan and contains tapioca balls, also known as 'boba'. These soft and chewy balls are produced from a starch made from the cassava root and, like the drinks, also come in a variety of flavours from chocolate to coffee. With Dots Dolce, another bubble tea and sweet shop having just opened up, the demand for these yummy drinks seems to be on the rise.

And it's not just a wave of desserts and sweet treats that have found its way to Navan. Most recently, Mexican cuisine has come to town with the arrival of Saburritos. The fast-food chain has opened up several burrito bars around the country, selling everything from burritos and quesadillas to chile con carne and soft tacos. Saburritos is the latest food franchise to make it to Navan since Freshly Chopped, a healthy food franchise that sells hearty salad bowls and wraps prepared by their signature mezzaluna knife.

Saburritos now open in Navan.

"We were the new kids on the block," says John. He and his partner Anthony opened Mug & Bean in early May last year. "We were conscious of the fact that there's a bakery and essential goods shop in the area, and we didn't want to take away from that. We wanted to offer something a little bit different."

In addition to coffee and cake, the cafe specialises in gourmet organic sourdough toasties. The sourdough is made using organic flour and local mineral sea salt, sourced locally from Baska Bakery in Bohermeen. "Navan has always been our town and we just want to give something back."

Mug & Bean coffee shop, Navan.

The emphasis on sourcing local produce is supported by Discover Boyne Valley Flavours, which promotes local food offering around Meath and Louth. Celebrating both heritage and culture, the Boyne Valley Food Series focuses on providing the best food experiences in the region.

Restaurant owners Michael and Tara Gavigan have been part of the Boyne Valley Flavours for nearly ten years now. Together they partake in a number of events included in the Food Series. "Collaborations are always good in any industry," says Tara. "We're all doing our best for the town."

The couple run The Central, one of the town's most popular bars and restaurants in Navan. "Food and entertainment is a huge part of it," Tara adds about the Boyne Valley Flavours. They also run the Bective, a seafood restaurant in Kells. As part of the Food Series each year they hold a seafood festival during the May Bank Holiday weekend. "It sounds strange being in Kells but the festival is always really popular."

This colourful array of new food places enhancing Navan's dining experiences are as diverse as its ever-growing population, and while you'd still need to hop on the NX for a Starbucks, it seems as though the food industry in Navan is thriving. With that in mind, it'll be interesting to see what more 2023 has to offer when it comes to food trends, and whether or not they'll find a place in Meath.