Emma Harwood

Four years after his Old Town snack bar was completely destroyed by fire, chef Leo O’Reilly is finally back in business.

Leo – who lost everything in the blaze – celebrated the opening of his new gourmet breakfast and burger bar, O’Reilly’s, in Marine Parade on Friday 6th April.

But the celebration has come after years of uncertainty for the former boxer who has endured unemployment and even homelessness since his former business Bite 2 Eat was reduced to ashes in April 2014.

The fire – which started when a chip pan was left unattended by a resident in West Street- ripped through a number of nearby buildings and businesses and Leo, who was forced to flee with no belongings, could only watch as his two-story business premises and everything inside was completely gutted.

Although local residents and businesses whipped round and donated funds to help those affected, Leo, who had no contents insurance at the time of the fire, struggled to remain positive.

However, in a happy conclusion, Britain’s former number two lightweight whose passion for food caused him to re-train as a chef after retiring from boxing aged 28, has finally had his premises rebuilt.  With the help of a £100,00 loan he has kitted out the inside with chic modern décor and a state-of–the-art kitchen. And now the 38-year old, who has also become a new Dad to seven week-old son Hudson, is looking forward to brighter times.

“My life has been upside down for four years. I lost everything. I’ve moved to London, I’ve been homeless, I’ve lived in so many different places.”

“Now I’m really happy to be back again and things just seem to be getting better.” he added.

Boasting a huge open window and tables outside –the soon- to –be- licensed O’Reilly’s is open from 7 am -9pm, seven days a week, offering a selection of luxury breakfast dishes and burgers, and also deliveries.


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