Hugely successful Stix & Stones restaurant in Belfast celebrates its 10th Anniversary

A Prominent local hospitality leader, John Trainor, has made a renewed call for local government support to secure the future of Northern Ireland’s hospitality sector as the renowned Stix & Stones restaurant in Belfast celebrates its 10th Anniversary.

Mr Trainor, the visionary behind the hugely successful Stix & Stones restaurants and the Balmoral Hotel in Dunmurry, is highlighting the critical role that reduced VAT rates and a more favourable business rates multiplier could play in sustaining the local hospitality sector.

The hospitality business leader is urging local government to act at a time when the hospitality industry is navigating significant economic pressures, including rising operational costs, a staff and skills shortage, and a challenging global economic climate.

Since launching in 2014, the pioneering Stix and Stones restaurant has become a cornerstone of Belfast’s culinary scene, renowned for offering patrons the experience of cooking premium, dry-aged steaks on hot stones.

Now employing over 115 staff, the restaurant expanded in 2023 with a new outlet in Ballyhackamore in East Belfast, before launching its Stix & Stones’ Meat Wagon restaurant in February 2024 on Belfast’s Wellington Place that offers diners an authentic barbecue experience.

It also launched its very own Stix & Stones Butchery in 2022 stocking and supplying all its restaurants with the finest cuts of dry-aged beef reared by an award-winning Co. Down pedigree rare breed beef farmer.

John Trainor, Operational Director of Stix & Stones restaurant in Belfast, says: “As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Stix & Stones, we’re not just marking a decade of culinary excellence. We’re highlighting our resilience and our ongoing commitment to Belfast’s culinary scene which sees us continuously push the boundaries in delivering memorable dining experiences.

“While this milestone is significant, it’s crucial to acknowledge that such success is currently the exception, not the norm, in our industry. Thriving in today’s market requires more than resilience and a commitment to excellence.

“Every week, we witness established pubs, restaurants, and cafes close their doors, overwhelmed by the rising costs in this challenging economy. It’s essential for the government to step in and ease these pressures by urgently lowering VAT rates and improving business rates multipliers.

“We are seeing excellent and well recognised established pubs, restaurants, and cafes shutting their doors on an almost weekly basis as they struggle under the weight of costs in a tough economy.

“Only with strategic support and meaningful reforms can we address the sector’s unique challenges. These changes are not just about survival— they’re about enabling sustainable growth and fostering innovation.

“With the right support, we can continue to be a driving force in the economic and social fabric of our region, ensuring a thriving future for the entire hospitality industry.”

As Stix & Stones marks its 10th anniversary, this milestone underlines not only the brand’s versatile culinary expertise but also demonstrates a savvy understanding of market demands and trends, allowing it to continuously innovate and grow, despite the difficult conditions in the hospitality industry.

The expansion into new markets with additional locations and concepts reflects the brand’s commitment to responding to changing consumer preferences while maintaining its high standards of quality and sustainability.

John Trainor, says: “The journey of Stix & Stones over the last decade has been nothing short of extraordinary. Facing the challenges head-on and coming out stronger on the other side reflects the hard work and dedication of our team.

“Our tenth anniversary is not just a landmark to celebrate our past achievements but a pivotal moment to strengthen our commitment to innovation and excellence. Each new venture we embark on is a step towards broadening our horizons and enhancing the exceptional dining experience that defines Stix & Stones.

“As we look to the future, we are filled with anticipation and excitement about the new opportunities that await us. We’re more committed than ever to surpassing the high standards we’ve set and continuing to be a leader in Belfast’s culinary scene.”

Stix & Stones is hosting a series of special events and promotions to mark its 10th Anniversary, including limited-time signature cocktails, exclusive dining offers, social media competitions, and free birthday dessert plates for diners (available until the 19th of May).

“Our 10th anniversary celebrations are a thank you to the community that has grown with us. We’re rolling out a series of special promotions to add a touch of excitement and appreciation for our loyal customers, as well as inviting new guests to experience the culinary delights we offer. Come celebrate with us, as we look forward to another decade of innovation and exceptional dining experiences at Stix & Stones,” says Mr Trainor.

For more information about the 10th-anniversary celebration and to make reservations, visit

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