E Gaynor set up a café in Suffolk street and a bakery & warehouse in South King street. The business was very successful. At that time, the area around Suffolk St. was the financial centre of Dublin and the smoking room downstairs was always a great place for the exchange of information. E Gaynor told his son that if he could have “had a tenth of the business transacted there, … (he could have) retired years before”.
E Gaynor opened his second café in Grafton Street in 1921. He was fortunate to have been able to acquire the lease cheaply as the “bullets were whizzing by from the college of surgeons on Stephen’s Green”. The last café was opened up in Dame Street in the early 1930s.
The Grafton St. café, in particular, was a haunt of the intelligentsia. It boasted a string trio and often hosted private concerts. Lady Gregory used the café as a meeting point for her PEN literary society. Maud Gonne McBride would buy her coffee no where else. Anthony Cronin remembers it fondly:
“I preferred Robert Roberts towards the top of Grafton Street. It was more continental and more of a coffee house. There was a table there at the front and every day it was more or less reserved for Jewish gentlemen who had been prominent during the War of Independence, men like Michael Noyek, Philip Sayers and Bob Briscoe. We used to go in there during the Holy Hour. When you were put out of the pub you would have to have somewhere to repair to. “
Part of the attraction of the café was the banter with the staff with regulars asking to be seated in Josie or Annie’s room.