Stephen O’Dwyer - The Life Authentic
Life always takes unexpected twists and turns on the road to happiness –like how, in this case, a budding financier introduced Dublin to the wonderful world of fro-yo. But that was just the start of his journey in making life truly authentic…
At 26, after an intense period of study, Stephen O’Dwyer qualified as a chartered accountant in Dublin. With the corporate world at his feet and the job offers rolling in, Stephen headed to the airport, secure in the knowledge that he’d never work another day in finance.
He spent 6 months in New York’s wealthy East Hampton - beaches by day, bartender by night, and parties in between. With the tips accumulating and the halcyon summer days drawing to a close, a big idea was taking hold: “I was in Manhattan, sitting across from a frozen yogurt bar and the queues were down the street. Deep down I think I had always wanted to work in food, working in restaurants throughout my studies and at one point threatening to quit college to train as a chef.”
On 21 December 2011, Stephen opened Yogism in Dublin’s George’s Street Arcade. “It was the worst possible time to open, and a pretty awful location because the arcade closed at 6 every evening. Nobody came. And, while I doubted myself all of the time, I never gave up.” Harnessing the power of social media and putting a huge emphasis on customer service, Yogism slowly began to grow its customer base. Inspired by a food movement that had birthed concepts like The Fumbally and Bunsen, Stephen opened Tang on St. Stephen’s Green in May 2016.
Featuring fresh yogurt, Tang’s menu is heavily influenced by the Middle East. With flatbread wraps, fragrantly marinated meats, salads, dressings and dips, the queues are now down Dawson Street. “The first 9 months were exhausting but I really hit my stride once I’d built the right team. My philosophy is simple; I hire good people who want to be here. And then I look after them. Life is for living, it’s for enjoying – do what makes you happy.”
Tang’s second restaurant will open on Dublin’s North Side later this Summer.