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Vegetarian restaurant Govindas on Dublin's Aungier Street closes its doors after 22 years

The Abbey Street restaurant is unaffected by the closure.

Murphy working on the the second-last day of Govindas, Aungier Street.
Murphy working on the the second-last day of Govindas, Aungier Street.
Image: TheJournal.ie

VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT GOVINDAS on Dublin’s Aungier Street is set to close its doors today after 22 years in business.

The Hare Krishna-run restaurant is of one Dublin’s best-known vegetarian spots and is known for its simple, healthy and generously portioned meals.

Govindas also operates a restaurant on Dublin’s Abbey Street, under the Krishna Temple, and this is unaffected by the Aungier Street closure.

The southside outlet was the first to open in 1997 and the aim was to provide its food on a not-for-profit basis in accordance with Krishna teaching.

Goloka Murphy is the manager of the restaurant and has been working in Govindas on Aungier Street since it first opened.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie yesterday as she prepared some of the final meals for customers, Murphy said the closure was sad in some ways but that she’s not too disappointed. 

“I’ve been here for 22 years, I’m due a holiday and everything changes, everything comes to an end,” she says. 

Murphy explained that the tenancy agreement between Govindas and the landlord expired two years ago and that the landlord has now decided to redevelop the restaurant.

Basically, the lease came to an end. I think we signed a 20-year lease and it’s now, what, 22 years. So we got a couple of extra years. 

20191223_143026 The lentil soup gets s stir. Source: TheJournal.ie

The food in the restaurant features all kinds of ingredients, none of which involve harming living things. 

“The food we do is all pure vegetarian, there’s no meat fish or eggs, that’s really important because we’re preaching non-violence to all living entities, that’s the reason for a lot of vegans as well,” Murphy says. 

We set it up like that, we wanted it to be a reasonable price, so people can eat every day, that they’d have an option, they have a choice. It’s a good feed and it’s reasonable, it’s not for profit anyway. And our customers appreciate that, there’s a huge cross-section of people, workers, students and retired people. 

“I have to say we’ve got the loveliest customers. Really, really, really decent, nice people,” she adds.

“And for so many years, so many of them are regulars. You know, we see some at least once, twice, three times on some people four or five times a week.”

20191223_143309 Govindas on Aungier Street. Source: TheJournal.ie

Murphy was speaking during the lunchtime rush and several customers walked up to her to offer their thanks to say they’d hopefully see her in the Abbey Street restaurant, where she’s been offered a position.

One who spoke to TheJournal.ie said he will visit the Abbey Street restaurant but that “it’s a bit of a walk” for him, adding that it’s a surprise there aren’t more vegetarian restaurants around.

“It’s the state of Dublin I suppose,” he says pointing to a 300 room development that’s being built across the road.

“Big developments are happening and there’s not so much space for the smaller guy.”

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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