#5. The Phoenix
Providing you don’t sit in a regular’s chair or make eye contact with anyone at all, this is a cracking spot to grab some lunch. The atmosphere, if a little hostile at times, has a real down-to-earth vibe, and quickly takes your mind off that niggling worry that the chicken you’re eating may have been microwaved a little bit.
It’s not so much the food that will keep you coming back for more, it’s the experience. The owners have gone all out to create an authentic “backstreet boozer” ambience – I assume by purposely staining the curtains with beer and burning feg holes in the carpet for good effect.
Whatever they’ve done it certainly works, and it’s a fine example of when honest Northern Irish cuisine meets traditional, drink-fuelled rowdiness.
Newry Spud Rating: 7/10
#4. Subway Monaghan Street
Fight your way through the hustle and bustle of the city’s thriving centre and you’ll find this delightful and unassuming little sandwich bar.
Ever wondered what it’s like to be a sandwich artist? Well, wonder no more. The uniquely interactive ‘build-it-yourself’ experience will make you feel like you’ve truly earned your £3.99 six-incher.
But don’t make the mistake I did and let the awesome power of choosing your own ingredients go to your head. Although individually delicious – meatballs, cabbage, jalapeño, bacon cubes, beetroot and mayonnaise do not marry up quite as successfully as I’d first imagined.
Newry Spud Rating: 8/10
Nestled off the roundabout at Bridge Street sits this small but punchy fried chicken restaurant. Step away from the occasional knife crime and pull up a chair to enjoy some fried chicken just like your mum used to make, only much better.
The chicken here is so tender and fresh if you leave it in the box long enough it’ll lay an egg. Disclaimer: Don’t actually leave the chicken in the box for longer than thirty minutes as the fossilisation process will quickly set in.
Newry Spud Rating: 8.5/10
A close contender to number one, just missing out is Friar Tuck’s.
This little beauty located both on Monaghan Street and Sugar Island is the best place to sample chicken and coleslaw.
The ‘suppa’ sauce is like an explosion of flavour in the mouth followed with the strawberry milkshake that on Tuck’s can muster up.
The coleslaw is of a variety only one can dream of and should surely be considered for a Micheline Star.
Newry Spud Rating: 9/10
Well, here we are at number one.
Sometimes when that little hunger monster starts to growl, you just gotta go all out American, and nothing says classic America quite like the Dammolly Retail Park Welcome to McDonald’s sign.
This joint is far too 2016 to mess around with starters, so it’s straight to the main course. A rather frank “what do you want!” shout from behind the service counter is a refreshing change from the overbearing and desperate receptions at slightly pricier establishments.
Don’t worry, the hurried and unremarkable welcome is all a part of the act, because that’s what they do in America. I think.
Newry Spud Rating: 10/10