Thrive Café, on Tullow’s town square, is serving customers a dish of nutritious, unprocessed, locally sourced food with a side of holistic food and wellness education.
Opened in 2018 by sisters and co-owners Helen and Lorraine Demitriou, Thrive is a health café and wellness hub offering bespoke nutrition programmes, yoga classes, and food and lifestyle courses—as well as tasty sandwiches, curries, burgers, and smoothies.
The pair take inspiration from author Virginia Woolf: ‘One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well.’ It’s clearly a part of Thrive’s mission statement too.
‘We’re very passionate about local, good food and giving your body the fuel it needs not just to survive the day but thrive,’ says Helen.
There’s a social, almost spiritual side to their service. ‘We offer a safe space and a community space, and we offer people the chance to connect with us, whatever their journey,’ says Lorraine.
It wasn’t always clear to Helen and Lorraine whether Thrive would work in Carlow, but they quickly found that locals and visitors alike were eager to try new food and learn about nutrition’s contribution to a healthy body and mind.
‘We have to be proud that we brought a new idea and concept to a small town where people maybe weren’t open to trying new food… We started small, we started local, and we brought them on the journey,’ says Lorraine.
Helen agrees: ‘Setting up in our hometown in County Carlow was really important to us.’
Thrive Café uses a wide range of local Carlow ingredients – including fruit from their brother’s nearby organic farm – whose quality Helen and Lorraine are quick to recommend.
‘One thing that’s been amazing since the get-go is the Carlow Farmers’ Market. We always direct our customers to it as a place to source really high-quality ingredients that are local, where people are passionate about where they come from,’ says Lorraine.
Lorraine believes that local producers and entrepreneurs are sensing growing demand and rising to the challenge.
“Setting up in our hometown in County Carlow was really important to us.”