When lifelong friends, born and raised in the tight-knit community of Dinas Powys, decided to ambitiously pursue their culinary passion, they set out on a journey that would not only tantalise taste buds but also uplift the very community that shaped them into the people they are today.
This is a local business news story of four dynamic self-claimed foodies whose path to success has been guided by the enduring Welsh community spirit. And as they flourish, a surprising connection has sparked with Masons Self Storage.
Meet Alex Gilflin, James Nellany, David Hird and his brother Greg. They are passionate foodies and owners of One O’clock Gate, an Asian-fusion restaurant and bar based in the heart of Dinas Powys, only 4 miles from Cardiff’s city centre.
So if you’re in the mood for a boost of business inspiration, you’re in for a treat because we sat down with Greg to find out more about the friends behind the food and how they’re helping the local people and the local business community.
“The making of One O’clock Gate began long before we opened our doors in April 2021. Having been close friends since childhood, it has been somewhat of a journey to get us to the point of realising our dream of establishing our own restaurant. It has been truly incredible to witness our shared vision materialise into reality.
“Before One O’clock Gate, I worked as a civil engineer, Dave ran another business where Alex came onboard as a manager, and James spent years travelling, living in Australia and New Zealand for seven years, where he successfully honed his craft in hospitality management.”
Greg highlighted that during his adventure down under, James met his partner Chantelle, who is an integral part of One O’clock Gate. She is the bar manager and mixologist, conjuring up lip-smacking cocktails from scratch with carefully crafted and locally sourced ingredients.
Friendship & food
The guys all attended the same primary school in Dinas Powys many years ago and have been close friends ever since. Their friendship remained strong as their lives went in different directions, and once reunited, it was only a matter of time before their passion for food took centre stage, fuelling the foundation of their ambitious business idea.
“Alex, Dave, and James have an insatiable appreciation for food. James has tons of experience in hospitality and along with Dave and Alex, they are serious foodies with incredible culinary skills. This, combined with our experience managing businesses, enabled us to come together and transition into the restaurant industry.”
A full circle moment
The COVID-19 pandemic unexpectedly played a key role in the establishment of One O’clock Gate. Greg explained that just as they were on the verge of signing a lease for a premises in Cardiff, lockdown measures came into place which put the opportunity on hold.
But little did they know, new doors were about to open, leading them to a golden opportunity at the Dinas Powys Golf Club.. This was somewhat of a full circle moment since the lads had spent years as junior members there and the golf club played a huge role in nurturing their friendship as kids. Now, it was the location of their very first foodie business venture!
Local lads get cooking
Amid the pandemic, the catering facilities at the golf club became available. It was during this time that plans began to fall into place for the local lads, presenting them with an opportunity to establish a pop-up takeaway at the golf club, in-line with Covid protocols.
“This move not only allowed us to gain invaluable experience in managing a commercial food outlet but also helped us establish a reputable name. Our reputation quickly grew, thanks to positive customer feedback.”
One O’clock Gate opens
As Covid restrictions eased, the OOG team agreed a lease on the full restaurant space and undertook the daunting renovation project to turn the space into the modern, sleek and welcoming space it is today. – and thus One O’clock Gate was born. Greg advised the name is inspired by the local community and a local landmark in Dinas Powys that many walkers will have passed on numerous occasions, whether knowingly or not!
Supporting the local business community
The restaurant places a strong emphasis on sourcing its ingredients from local suppliers to create their range of unique Asian inspired dishes and beverages.
“It’s really important to us that our produce is high quality, locally sourced and supplied by the local business community. For example, our meat is fully traceable and farmed here in South Wales, our coffee roasted in Cardiff and some of our vegetables are grown a few miles from our front door. We have always prioritised using local suppliers whenever possible.”
Young blood: Creating opportunities for the local youth
Beyond supplies, the One O’clock Gate team also focuses on creating job opportunities for the community with nearly all of their employees living within a 5 mile radius.
“We have an ever-growing team of over 20 staff members, all from the local area, including Penarth, Barry, and Dinas Powys. Many of them are young individuals starting their first part-time jobs and others who are developing their careers with us. Creating these opportunities for our locals has been one of the most satisfying parts of the journey and is a way for us to give back to the same community that once supported us with opportunities when we were growing up.”
Growing with Masons Self Storage
So you might be thinking, why does the One O’clock Gate team need self-storage? The answer is quite interesting and if you’re a growing business, this may give you some ideas on how to expand comfortably.
Greg gives the low-down on the DNA of the restaurant and why self-storage is needed:
“The heart-beat of our restaurant and bar focuses on providing great food, great drinks, and a great atmoshpere for our local community to enjoy. It’s open to all and not just the golf club members.
“We are also an entertainment venue that hosts parties, events, and seasonal celebrations.
“Because of all the different things we do, self-storage has become a big part of our daily routine. When we’re hosting an event, we need extra tables, chairs, and kitchen and audio gear, so having accessible self-storage units makes it easy to grab what we need and drop it back when the event’s done.
“Also, we often change our menu based on the seasonal produce or new inspiration. This means we may need a range of catering equipment to accommodate the new dishes and cooking methods. With self storage, we can easily move equipment in and out quickly, allowing us to keep our menus fresh and fluid!”
“And not forgetting the convenience of having storage for backup kitchen equipment in case of an emergency, if something does down, knowing we have back-up at our storage unit at any time around the corner is a life-saver.”
Greg also mentions self-storage comes with useful money saving perks.
“By having the storage space available, we can buy equipment and furniture as it becomes available, when we require it, or in preparation for things ahead, without the need for expensive short term hire costs. Iin the long run, we are making great savings!”
Self-Storage in Barry – Complete peace of mind with 24/7 access
One of the best parts of Masons Self Storage in Barry for Greg is the unmatched flexibility of 24/7, 365 days accessibility. He says this “excellent access” gives him peace of mind knowing he can pick up or drop off his equipment at any time, even past midnight after close in the restaurant.
Support local restaurants
The One O’clock Gate team is excited for the future and all the growth expected. They can rest assured that as they flourish, we will always be here to provide extra space so they can reach even bigger goals and support even more local businesses and people.
Check out the One O’clock Gate website and One O’clock Gate Instagram Page to find out more about their opening times, menu, and special upcoming events such as their Christmas menu and party! We love to support local restaurants who give back to their communities!