Lisa Doyle’s role at her restaurant may have changed, but her passion to serve her community remains intact. Lisa became one of the owners of The Burren after starting as a server at the former Ceili Cottage.
A great feat in itself, but made more impressive considering Lisa did it in less than 10 years of coming to the city. She had worked in hotels in Europe and the United States. However, there were still a few places on her bucket list.
“I had travelled around the world but never been to Canada or Australia,” says Lisa. She came to Toronto in 2010, after hearing rave reviews about the city from family friends. Within six weeks of living here she was hooked – she knew she was staying.
After working a few years as a bartender, Lisa and her partners jumped at the opportunity for ownership when it came. One of their first tasks after taking the keys to the restaurant was to bring new character and start with a brand new name, one that represented what they envisioned – a space that is beautiful yet rugged at the same time. “The name came to me in the middle of the night,” says Lisa.
The Burren is a region in southwest Ireland dating back to the Ice Age. Though it’s known for its breathtaking landscape of bedrock and historic structures, it was the perfect name because it sticks in your mind and reflects Lisa’s and her partners’ Irish heritage.
Lisa says she is living the dream, “But starting a restaurant isn’t all rainbows and lollipops. It was scary at the start.” Lisa was educated in hotel and restaurant management in Ireland. She has worked around the world, but had never taken the rein as an owner. “Everybody made it easy, from the designers to the investors,” says Lisa. However, the real work started once the restaurant officially opened its doors in May 2019.
Lisa credits her partners and staff for the restaurant’s success. “The servers are incredible, they stand on their heads,” she says. Lisa prides herself on making sure everyone is taken care of, from staff to regulars in the neighbourhood. “Our customers, we treat them like family,” says Lisa. “Everyone that comes through the doors is a brother, sister, or auntie.”
Lisa doesn’t just own a restaurant, she is also one of the neighbours. She loves living in the Beaches and exploring the vibrant streets. When she has free time, it’s spent with her wife of three years. They like to take their dog, a Bichon Frise which she likens to a cotton-fluff ball, on walks along the boardwalk or at the Scarborough Bluffs.
Although The Burren is finding success, Lisa continues to meet the community expectations by delivering “stick to your bone, good honest food. Our chef is really talented. His food is comfort food at its best,” she says.
When asked what her favourite dish was, Lisa chose the Irish Fish and Chips, with Guinness battered salmon, French fries and a pickled asparagus tartar.
The Burren | 1301 Queen St E | 416-901-5575 | theburren.ca