Boxpark is coming to Manchester

Manchester is set to get another city centre foodhall, this time from London operator, Boxpark.

As reported in Place North West magazine, the news was shared by Chief Executive of Allied London, Mike Ingall on LinkedIn, who says that they are close to agreeing a lease with Boxpark for the 30,000 sq ft Albert Shed complex in Manchester’s new St John’s neighbourhood.

Ingall said: “The deal is not done yet but we have shaken hands and that is good enough for me.”

Albert Shed – not to be confused with Albert’s Shed in Castlefield – is on the corner of Water Street and New Quay Street. This new part of town will also be home to MIF‘s The Factory which is currently under construction.

“First cut for our new Food Hall Warehouse!” – Mike Ingall on LinkedIn

If you haven’t heard of Boxpark before, their existing venues bring together street food, drinks and entertainment under one roof. The first site opened in Shoreditch in 2011 and has been followed by two further openings in Croydon in 2016 and Wembley in 2018.

Set in the heart of their respective boroughs, each one promises a unique experience, and so you would hope that the Manchester site will offer something that’s unique and personal to the city.

Similar to Hatch which opened in Manchester in 2017, the Boxpark sites so far have all been constructed out of repurposed shipping containers.

The new opening is part of a larger expansion for Boxpark which has created Instagram handles for sites in Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Bristol and other locations around London.

There’s no confirmed date for the opening of Boxpark Manchester just yet, but according to Ingall the aim is to open by June 2022.

That’s all we know for now but we’ll keep you updated as more is announced.

Reopening week parties in Manchester as social distancing ends

It’s finally happening. Restrictions are lifting, social distancing is ending and dancing is back on the cards.

To celebrate, Manchester’s clubs and bars are planning some big (and long) parties throughout reopening week.

Here are some of the parties you can still book tickets for.


Hula Tiki is throwing a 12-hour party from 5pm to 5am on Monday 19 July with DJ Gareth Brooks. Tickets are free but they’re selling fast. To grab one click here.

Hula Tiki is throwing a 12-hour party


Hidden has been busy making improvements to the club while its been closed and they’ve now reopened their doors at the earliest possible opportunity (midnight on Sunday 18 July). They’ve got day and night parties every day of reopening week. Book tickets here.

Joshua Brooks

Reopening on Friday 23 July, Joshua Brooks has been undergoing a £200,000 revamp to get it ready for opening. The reopening weekender will feature sets from the likes of Darius Syrossian and DJ Mark Knight. Tickets have sold out for the Friday night but there are still some remaining tickets for the event on Saturday here.

Joshua Brooks is reopening on Friday

4nd Street

42s has planned a full week reopening week programme, kicking off with the reopening week party on Monday, followed by the return of some of its regular nights – Blowout, Amplified, Skint, Urban Legends and Dirty Dancefloor. Book here.


Venue is reopening as a club from 19 July after having operated as a ‘night pub’ recently. There will be two reopening parties on Monday and Tuesday, Red Wednesday with ‘indie, disco and good vibes’, requested night on Thursday and indie floor fillers on Friday. Tickets and information for reopening week here.

Mint Lounge

They opened last week with their seated sessions, but Mint Lounge will soon be able to reopen fully on Monday 19 July with their Levelz Lockdown Liftoff event. Funkademia will also return on Saturday 24 July. Book via Skiddle.


South is throwing a 30-hour reopening party, kicking off at one minute past midnight on Monday 19 July and running until 6am in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Tickets can be bought for either the first or second half of the night here.

Manchester chippies to takeover Manchester Food and Drink Festival for one day

Manchester Food and Drink Festival (MFDF) is returning to the city this autumn and today it has announced the first wave of events as part of the 2021 programme.

The independently-run event which was postponed last year due to the pandemic will run from 16 to 27 September.

Director of MFDF, Alexa Stratton Powell said: “We are absolutely delighted to be bringing the Festival back this year. Postponing in 2020 was hugely disappointing – a tough decision but the right one of course.

“We set up the Festival,  a small group of people, to champion independent food and drink businesses. We’re still a very small team but we are just as committed as ever, particularly now as we face a whole new chapter for hospitality, to showcasing the very best that our amazing city has to offer. This year we’re looking forward to celebrating our brilliant hospitality industry and bringing people together for some cracking food and drink!”

The Festival Hub on Cathedral Gardens

The Festival Hub will once again be located on Cathedral Gardens and will be the centre of the event, with street food, bars, live music, an artisan market and takeover events hosted by various Manchester restaurants and operators.

The Hub is free to enter with bookable tables and some saved for walk ins. Most of the available tables have already been booked now but there is still some limited availability alongside walk in spaces.

There is also a range of fringe events at venues across the city which takes place throughout the festival.

Here’s everything they’ve announced so far.

The Festival Hub

The Bull & Bear Hub Takeover

Tom Kerridge’s restaurant, The Bull & Bear will be taking over the MFDF Festival Hub for a special supper club, serving a three-course ‘pub grub’ menu. Of course, it’s a pub menu from a two Michelin starred chef so this won’t be the food from your average boozer.

The Bull and Bear in the Stock Exchange Hotel

Diners will enjoy a started of potted Loch Duart salmon with apple jelly and cucumber chutney, braised beef and blue cheese pie with English mustard mash and Seven Brothers ale gravy for main, and to finish it’s banana custard with dates, pistachio and honeycomb. A vegetarian option will be available too.

The event will take place on Monday 20 September. Tickets cost £55 per person and can be booked here.

Manchester’s Biggest Chippy Tea

For the Festival Chippy Tea takeover, the Hub will be filled with five different restaurants, chippies and traders, all cooking up their take on the classic fish and chips.

The line up includes traditional chippy Anchors of Didsbury, popular Ancoats spot Hip Hop Chip Shop, Manchester’s first all vegan chippy JJ Vish and Chips, English market diner Street Urchin and Lord of the Pies.

Hip Hop Chip Shop

Dessert will be provided by A Few Scoops who will serve alcoholic ice cream from their custom built tuk tuk.

This event takes place on Wednesday 22 September and is free to enter but there are a limited number of tables available to pre book here.

JJ’s Vish and Chips


An early Oktoberfest celebration, Albert’s Schloss will bring Munich to Manchester with their Schlosstoberfest takeover.

The MFDF street kitchen will be serving Bavarian street food throughout the evening. There’ll be bratwurst, pretzels, lederhosen and plenty of beer. Plus, there’ll be a full programme of live entertainment that Schloss is so good at.

Schlosstoberfest is taking place on Thursday 23 September at the Festival Hub and is free to enter.

There’ll be pretzel and bratwursts a plenty at Schlosstoberfest

Street Food & Bars

From Thursday to Sunday for the two weeks of the festival, there will be a changing selection of street food traders.

Over the first long weekend (16 to 19 September), traders include What’s Your Beef, Aunti Ji’s, Great North Pie Co, The Spinn, Grandad’s Sausages, Hanoi 75, Maison Breizh and Ginger’s Comfort Emporium.

Also that weekend, there will be a trailer at the Hub with a different restaurant or chef cooking in it each day including Evuna, Jackie Kearney and Tast.

There will be a changing selection of street food traders across two long weekends

Over the second weekend, visitors to the Hub can enjoy dishes from Halloumination, Patty and Press, I Knead Pizza, Northern Soul and Spoons Desserts.

Eat Well Mcr will have their own trailer from 24 to 26 September with a different restaurant partner each day cooking the menu. Profits raised from the kitchen, including a £1 donation added to orders, will go to Eat Well to support the work they do feeding vulnerable people in Greater Manchester.

Throughout both weekend, the Just Eat Food Chalets will host some of their best rated Manchester restaurant partners including Peck and Yard, La Bandera, Vertigo Plant Based Eatery and JJ Vish and Chips.

There will be three bars at the Festival Hub; a Manchester Beer Bar serving a range of regional beers and ciders; the Franklin and Sons bar with a range of creative gin and tonics; and the Truly Hard Seltzer Bar serving alcoholic sparkling water in flavours like Wild Berry and Black Cherry.

The Manchester Beer Bar

MFDF Artisan Market

Across both weekends, there will be an artisan market at the Festival Hub, open from midday until 7pm.

There will be two separate line ups featuring independent food and drink producers from across the region.

Stalls will include Ancoats artisan bakery Companio, Paradiso Authentic with Italian desserts, Chorlton Cheesemongers, Bread Flower with sourdough bagels and seasonal bouquets, HM Pasties, Cocoa and Bloom with artisan chocolates, Manchester Cheesecakes, Chorlton Bread Co, Devil Dog small batch sauces, The Gourmet Brownie Co and Crozier Drinks.

Elsewhere in the city

More Festival Fringe events will be announced closer to the time but here’s what’s announced so far.

MFDF Wine and Fizz Fest

Halle St Peter’s

Taking place at Halle St Peters on Blossom Street in Ancoats, the Wine and Fizz Fest will see some of the region’s most exciting independent wine retailers and brands come together for three tasting sessions on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 September.

Tickets cost £12.50 and will allow visitors to taste their way through dozens of wines from across the globe from retailers like Decent Drop, Grape to Grain, Le Social, and Cork of North. UKiYO Republic will also be there showcasing their range of Japanese sake.

As well as tasting the wines, guests will also be able to buy bottles at the event to take home.

Book here.

Special festival offers

As the official partners of the festival, Just Eat is offering 20% off between Thursday 16 September and Monday 27 September.

There’s 20% off Roomzzz Aparthotel at the Corn Exchange throughout the festival too if you want to make a weekend of it.

The Manchester Food and Drink Festival is on from 16 to 27 September. More events will be announced in the lead up to the event.

To view the full programme and book tickets, visit their website or download the app on the App Store here or Google Play Store here.

Things to do in Manchester this weekend (whether you’re watching the football or not)

It properly feels like summer at the moment. It’s sunny (for now), we’re allowed to do things and – crucially – there are actually things to do.

It’s been a long time since it felt worth doing a weekend round up for events in Manchester, but this week, the city is absolutely buzzing.

Of course, there’s the football tomorrow, but whether you’re into that or not, there’s plenty to get up to over the next few days. Here are a few highlights for this weekend.

England v Ukraine

The Crown and Kettle is accepting walk ins for the Euros

It’s coming home, guys. If you haven’t heard, England has made it through to the quarter final of the Euros, taking on Ukraine this Saturday evening.

You’re going to be hard pressed to find a booking for anywhere showing the game but there are still a few places doing walk ins where you might be able to grab a table.

Places doing walk ins include Crown and Kettle, Bunny Jacksons, Lost Cat, Tib Street Tavern, Dive Bar and Stage and Radio.

Manchester International Festival

Manchester International Festival

MIF is now underway with various arts, music and theatre performances as well as other cultural events during the 18 days of the festival.

As well as the programme of ticketed events, the free-to-enter Festival Square on Cathedral Gardens is open from today with live music, food and drink.

Food traders include Honest Crust, Stellar, Heathcote&Co and Eat Well MCR.

More info here.

Summer Beer Thing

Summer Beer Thing at Kampus

Summer Beer Thing returns this summer for a month-long, canal side pop up.

The event is hosted by Common & Co, the guys behind Common, The Beagle, Port Street Beer House and Nell’s Pizza, which will soon open their permanent space at Kampus alongside new pub Cornerstone.

There will be plenty of beers, DJs on weekends, fried chicken from Kongs and Nell’s ice cream sandwiches, as well as natural wines, cocktails, softs and snacks.

Open Thursday to Sunday, walk ins only.

Manchester Union Brewery 2nd birthday

Manchester Union Brewery birthday party

Manchester Union Brewery throwing a belated birthday party this Saturday 3 July – six month after it was due. The brewery missed the opportunity to celebrate at the time due to lockdown restrictions.

Visitors can drink their award winning lager and their black lager After Dusk right next to where it is brewed, and there will be Verdant See Food and Dance IPA on tap for the occasion.

There will be snacks from Beehive serving Manchester Eggs and freshly baked pretzels from Pretzel & Spelt, which will be free to anyone spending over £10 at the bar.

No bookings required. More info here.

Food at MIF: Festival Square and supper clubs with the city’s top chefs

Manchester International Festival kicks off this week, running for just over two weeks at venues across the city.

The programme includes a wide range of events including gigs, theatre shows, dance performances, installations and other cultural celebrations.

Highlights include Damon Albarn and Arlo Parks at Manchester Central, a sculpture of Big Ben made out of political books on Piccadilly Gardens and an opening night performance which will see 150 Manchester residents among hundreds of dancers take over Deansgate for a unique new dance work.

As usual, Festival Square will be the central hub of the event, with free live music and DJs, guided tours, family events and some great food and drink. This year, Festival Square will be situated on Cathedral Gardens as its normal home of Albert Square is closed for renovations.

Open from 2 to 18 July, Festival Square is always a great place to hang out, grab a beer and some food and enjoy some free live performances.

Food on Festival Square

Festival Square is always a great place to hang out, grab a beer and some food and enjoy free live performances

Mackie Mayor and Altrincham Market favourites, Honest Crust, are returning to Festival Square, firing up their wood-fired oven to serve sourdough pizzas alongside fresh summer salads.

There will be a fully vegan offering from Stellar, a collaboration between Dan Hope (of Firebird Hope, Four Side, KRUM and Plant Grill) with partners Jason Wood and Lou Oates. The menu will feature Barbacoa Yuba Sandos, falafel burgers, Southern Fried Tofu and more.

There will also be food on offer from Heathcote&Co who have been a staple since the very first MIF. They will be serving affogatos, speciality coffee and ice cream floats. Fingers crossed for sunshine.

Also at Festival Square throughout the event are Eat Well MCR, the social enterprise co-founded by chef Mary-Ellen McTague which has provided nearly 45,000 to some of the most vulnerable in our communities since the start of lockdown.

Last year, Eat Well MCR launched their marketplace, filled with meal kits and local produce from a range of independent Manchester food and drink brands. The marketplace has helped to fund their initiative and also provides a platform and support for these indie businesses.

The menu includes a ‘build your own picnic’ with products from some of these partners including pickles and ferments Plucky Pickle, pies and scotch egg Beehive Food, bread from Holy Grain, whipped butter from The Creameries, salads from Cinderwood Garden, hummus from The Refuge, smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels and an Eat Well Kimcheese toastie. There will also be other toasties and bagels for children.

Mary-Ellen McTague (centre) from Eat Well MCR alongside fellow Directors Gemma (left) and Kathleen (right)

Chefs and restaurants from the Eat Well MCR collective will be popping down throughout the festival to offer special dishes to diners, starting with some incredible chocolate from Eddie Shepherd of The Walled Gardens Underground Restaurant. Other chefs and restaurants providing specials include Lorcan Kan from Things Palace, Elnecot, Where The Light Gets In, 3 Hands Deli, Blackbird Pantry and Joe Otway from Higher Ground

Mary-Ellen said:

“It’s so exciting to be able to collaborate with MIF again, for me personally but also because it’s the perfect platform to showcase our wonderful marketplace suppliers, the chefs and restaurants in our amazing collective, and to be able to tell our story to the wider community, all whilst raising much needed funds to continue our support work.” 

As well as their stall on Festival Square, Eat Well is also hosting a series of supper clubs with some of the city’s top chefs.

The supper clubs will be hosted at San Carlo Bottega in Selfridges Exchange Square. Five chefs are taking part across four nights with one chef taking the reigns for each of the first three events and a duo of chefs for the final event.

All tickets cost £65 per person which can be booked as tables of two and four only. This includes a four course dinner with a welcome drink, with options to add wine pairings or other drinks on the night.

Anna Søgaard from Erst, 5 July

Anna Sogaard from Erst

The menu for the first supper club will be created by celebrated Sous Chef of Erst in Ancoats. Anna was raised between Florida and Copenhagen and spent time working in Nordic fine dining kitchens before joining Erst in 2019.

The restaurant has since received national attention and praise, most recently being included in the National Restaurant Awards’ top 100 restaurants in the UK.

Book here.

Julià Castelló from Tast, 6 July

Julià Castelló from Tast

The next evening, Head Chef of Tast will take over the kitchen in San Carlo Bottega. Born in Girona, Julià trained in Catalonia, worked in restaurants on the Costa Brava and spent two years at the Michelin-starred Cinco in Berlin before moving to Manchester to open Tast in 2018.

He started as Sous Chef under Paco Perez and was promoted to Head Chef earlier this year.

Book here.

Mary-Ellen McTague from The Creameries, 12 July

Mary Ellen McTague from The Creameries and Eat Well MCR

The following week, Mary-Ellen McTague takes charge of the menu – co owner of The Creameries and founder of Eat Well MCR, Mary-Ellen has helped to provide almost 45,000 meals to vulnerable people in Manchester since the start of lockdown.

She was also formerly the Chef-Patron at Aumbry in Prestwich and Executive Chef of The Real Junk Food Project in Manchester.

Book here.

Isobel Jenkins from Isca and Josh Al-kazhraji from Moorcock Inn, 13 July

Isobel Jenkins and Josh Al-kazhraji

The final supper club in this series is hosted by a duo of chefs. The first is Isobel Jenkins, chef and co-owner of natural wine bar and organic deli, Isca Wines in Levenshulme, and also co-founder of supper club Season’s Eatings.

She will be joined by Josh Al-kazhraji who currently cooks at the Moorcock Inn in Sowerby Bridge. Together they have created a special four-course menu exclusively for MIF.

Book here.

Manchester International Festival runs from 1 to 18 July. To view the full programme and book tickets, visit:

Staff shortages, forced closures and waning support: the reality of extended restrictions for hospitality

Once again, it began as a rumour. Murmurings over the weekend that 21 June – “freedom day” – was perhaps not going to go ahead as planned.

By Monday, the leaked information once again seemed to be a (poor) attempt to soften the blow of the news, to prepare people and businesses for the inevitable evening announcement where Boris Johnson would confirm the four week extension of the current restrictions.

You may think that now most hospitality businesses are able to reopen, that things should be returning back to normal. But while we’re certainly not living under a full lockdown, the continued restrictions are having a huge impact on hospitality businesses.

Under the current restrictions, one in four hospitality businesses is unable to open. For those who can, it’s a struggle to break even.

Hospitality businesses can reopen but, for many, it’s a struggle to break even

The hospitality industry had previously warned that a four week delay could cost businesses £3bn and put 200,000 jobs at risk. And, although restrictions will continue until at least 19 July, Rishi Sunak confirmed that the support packages which have been helping business stay afloat will start to be reduced from 1 July as originally planned.

From this date, employers will have to contribute 10% of a furloughed employees wage, rising to 20% in August. On the same day, the business rates holiday will end.

Two days after the announcement, it was finally announced that the rent moratorium preventing commercial tenants from being evicted due to not paying their rent, which was due to end on 30 June has now been extended until March 2022.

We can already see the impact of the current restrictions on venues, many of which are having to reduce their capacity further or, in some cases, close their doors due to members of staff being asked to isolate.

Evelyn’s in the Northern Quarter had to close for seven days

One of the businesses that was forced to close recently is Evelyn’s Cafe Bar in the Northern Quarter, who last week announced on Instagram that they would have to close due to various members of staff being asked to self isolate. They reopened yesterday after seven days of closure.

Ben Reilly, General Manager for Evelyn’s, said:

“It was really unfortunate – as a small team in an independent business, any staff absence obviously has a much greater impact. We’ve built a really strong group of colleagues who were genuinely gutted to be unable to work, which seems to be quite a rarity. Luckily none of our staff actually tested positive for Covid at any point, we just had enough of them receive self isolation notifications to make it impossible for us to open.”

Mackie Mayor, which houses nine operators under its roof, also had to close earlier this week. Nick Johnson, head of market operations, said about the decision to close:

“That’s never a decision that is taken lightly, especially after being closed 9 out of the last 12 months, support packages ceasing and rates bills being issued! But it’s safety first and when one member of the team tests positive that knocks out a two whole shifts of full time members of staff for 10 days. By Monday we had 35 member of staff out of action due to track and trace. I know that it’s a problem affecting a lot of hospitality business in Manchester at the moment.”

Mackie Mayor has now managed “by hook and by crook” to get their doors back open today. A post on their Instagram reads “You might have to put up with a few rookie runners together with familiar faces from behind the kitchen counters swapping crocs for docs – serving as well as cooking your food. One way or another this COVID thang ain’t gonna keep old Mackie down.”

Even for those venues who haven’t got to the point where they need to close, operating under these restrictions has been a uphill struggle.

Mark Clinton, F&B Operations Director for Ducie Street Warehouse, said: “The biggest challenge of the most recent weeks has been the increase in the number of our team receiving isolation orders by the Test & Trace App, forcing us last weekend to have to cancel over 50% of our advance bookings and limit the number of walk ins we could manage based solely on the available team.

“On a sunny Manchester weekend, this was heart-breaking to cancel pre booked reservations, turn away loyal guests, and ultimately well needed trade. As we approach this weekend, we may have to reduce capacity again. Luckily we haven’t reached a point where we need to close.”

Ducie Street Warehouse recently had to cancel 50% of their bookings due to staff shortages

For each of these businesses, and of course others around the city, 21 June had been circled in their calendars as the date when they could open up fully, without restraint, but they will now have to endure four more weeks of the same challenges around staffing and capacity.

Ben from Evelyn’s said: “Challenges have been pretty numerous, mainly around managing customer expectations when it comes to availability – especially seeing as we’re one of the few sites around Manchester without an outside area. Tables are all distanced inside and as a small restaurant, again, this has a massive impact on how many covers we can sit. We tend to get booked up well in advance as a result, but the loss of covers does have an impact.

“Staffing levels and ensuring all our employees get the hours they need, whilst still remaining profitable with less covers is always a tough one to juggle. With the end to restrictions being so uncertain, we have to retain staff to make sure we can deal with increased demand when we reopen fully, but obviously this means there are less hours for staff currently. Whilst furlough has been a great tool to help staff, no one’s outgoings are reduced to 80%.”

All of this is of course not suggesting that we shouldn’t be cautious, and relax the rules when the time is right. But like with every change of restrictions we’ve seen, it’s all about timings.

In the first lockdown, many venues were forced to throw away litres of good beer. Ahead of the second, again, restaurants were given limited warning to shift the stock they had ordered.

For this most recent change in restrictions, venues were told just a week before that the rules in place aren’t going to ease; all of which impacts ordering, staffing and, of course, the bottom line for these businesses.

This, coupled with the lack of additional support for businesses means that these venues are losing out once again.

Nick from Mackie Mayor said:

“Without additional support measures from Government it will ending up costing us money, once again. Dates have been set for the end of support packages for hospitality but data is apparently driving the numbers and, once again, hospitality is powerless – caught in-between.”

Despite everything, some are cautiously optimistic. While the team at Evelyn’s would love to reopen without restrictions, they are seeing the silver lining of a four-week extension.

Ben said: “Whilst the news is disappointing, it’s bittersweet – until isolations reduce, and the well-publicised hospitality staff shortage crisis calms – I’m unsure how many venues would scale up to the increased capacity without further fallout or burnout,  falling at the feet of the last few standing. The only positive spin from the extension, is we have four more weeks to continue to recruit, and four more weeks to hope the isolations reduces and brings us back to our full incredible team.”

If the last 18 months has shown us anything, it’s how resilient our hospitality industry can be. Keep supporting where you can, they can’t do this without you.

“Life is going back to normal but it isn’t for these people” – the restaurant-run non-profit feeding Manchester’s most vulnerable

Eat Well has now provided nearly 45,000 meals to people across Greater Manchester and they need help to continue providing this vital support

In March last year, while the rest of us were getting our heads around life during a pandemic and trying to figure out what ‘furlough’ even meant, one restaurant owner kicked into gear and set about providing restaurant-quality meals for some of the people most heavily impacted by the pandemic.

Sparked by a conversation with her sister, a palliative care specialist, Mary-Ellen McTague from The Creameries started Eat Well last year, a week before the first lockdown.

Initially, the focus was on providing meals to NHS staff – those working nightmare shifts at the hospital who would come out of work only to find that the supermarket shelves had been cleared out. After the conversation with her sister, meals were delivered to Wythenshaw A&E that very same day.

As the situation progressed, Eat Well started to turn its attention to other members of the community who desperately needed support included homeless people who were at the time being houses in hotels and those living in women’s refuges.

Gemma Saunders, Mary-Ellen McTague and Kathleen O’Connor are the team leading Eat Well

The food was cooked using left over produce that would have otherwise have gone to waste, by chefs who would normally be working in the then-closed restaurants and then delivered by other volunteers.

Over the last year, Eat Well has worked with organisations across Greater Manchester to provide more than 40,000 meals – around 700 each week.

To kickstart the initial fundraising drive, Eat Well organised a star-studded fundraising event on United We Stream in June last year which helped to raise £72,000.

In July, they launched an Eat Well Marketplace, raising money to fund further meals and also to support food and drink businesses in the city. Shoppers can browse fresh produce, ready made dishes, meal kits, baked goods, alcohol and more from Manchester businesses like Gooey, Meat Co and Cloudwater.

Eat Well has provided more than 40,000 meals to vulnerable people across Greater Manchester so far

The marketplace has helped Eat Well towards its goal of becoming a ‘self sustainable’ social enterprise, which doesn’t rely heavily on fundraising applications. From early on, Eat Well partnered with grass roots organisations in the city to make sure their help was getting to the right people, in the right way.

Director of Eat Well, Kathleen O’Connor said: “We’re not experts in food poverty or the problems that people are facing, everybody that was involved were experts in looking after people and giving them a delicious meal, certainly not in social issues. So we started partnering with grassroots organisations that sit right in the heart of different communities in Greater Manchester that understand where the problems are.”

A large number of Manchester restaurants have supported Eat Well in some way over the past 12 months, from getting involved in cooking meals to selling things on the marketplace, as well as taking part in events and other fundraising activities.

The meals provided include restaurant-quality food cooked by professional chefs, which includes homely and meals, as well as takeaway style comfort food like fish and chips and Nell’s Pizza, to give people that special treat.

Meals have included takeaway treats like fish and chips and Nell’s pizza

“The food that we’re providing goes beyond satiating hunger, it’s about the emotional lift that that provides for people. It’s about hospitality providing people with a moment of relief and a moment of relaxation, a moment where you can switch off from whatever’s going on at that time in your life. That’s what we’re hoping to provide with the meals that we deliver.”

“It’s about generosity and kindness, which is what hospitality is all about,” adds Gemma, Co-Founder and Director.

Organisations they have worked with include Emmeline’s Pantry – a women-only foodbank providing food, clothes, toiletries and baby items to women in need and their families.

Karen from Emmeline’s Pantry said:

“Since the beginning of the pandemic we have been very lucky to have the support of Eat Well MCR. We have had weekly deliveries of wonderful restaurant meals including amazing pies and the most wonderful fish pies to name just two! These meals mean so much to our families for different reasons. Some are in temporary accommodation with just a microwave so having balanced tasty meals in that situation is a blessing.

To have a lovely meal made with care means more than just food. The feedback we have had was that some of the meals took them right back to lovely family memories. We also have the supper club part of our making memories scheme when we get wonderful takeaway meals delivered. The children love the Nell’s Pizzas and Krum Donuts evenings! This shared experience over food is such a treat to our families.  Thanks for everything you do for us Eat Well MCR.”

Looking ahead to the next year, Eat Well want to continue helping people affected by food inequality in the city, but they admit that it has become more challenging to help people as things have started to reopen.

Eat Well has worked with grassroots organisations to provide help where it is needed most

Although the social enterprise was launched as a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the issues that have been highlighted have not gone away, and there are still many people who are struggling to feed themselves and their families.

As well as the very visible issue of rough sleeping, Eat Well attempt to help the ‘hidden homeless’, those who are being put up in refuges or shelters but receive no statutory help.

Eat Well are currently looking to raise enough funds to reach their next milestone of 100,000 delicious, quality meals to be delivered some of the most vulnerable people in our community and show them that they haven’t been forgotten.

Eat Well has provided more than 40,000 meals to vulnerable people across Greater Manchester so far

Gemma says: “We want to make [Eat Well] a sustainable model, so that we can keep doing it and we can keep supporting people who otherwise might slip through the cracks. We’d love to go up to 1,000 meals a week but anything we do is still a drop in the ocean, the problem is huge and we are doing our best to fill a little bit of a hole.”

Kathleen adds: “I think the point is is that we probably knew some of these problems existed before the pandemic, but now we definitely know that they exist and because lockdown restrictions are easing and hopefully life is going back to normal but it’s not for these people that we’re helping, life isn’t changing for the better because lockdown is easing, it’s staying the same.

“So yes, we started something in lockdown off the back of a pandemic but when that goes away those problems aren’t going to go away and we don’t want to either, we want to keep doing what we’ve been doing.”

Those looking to support can donate to their Just Giving page and also continue to shop on the Eat Well Marketplace.

To stay up to date with news from Eat Well, visit their Instagram page.

A new vegetarian café is opening at Manchester Jewish Museum

A brand new ‘kosher-style’ café is opening at the newly restored Manchester Jewish Museum next month.

The venue has been closed to the public since 2019 to undergo a £6 million extension, restoration and renovation project of its museum and the Grade II listed Spanish and Portuguese synagogue built in 1874.

Reopening on 2 July, the museum’s new café will serve a contemporary vegetarian ‘kosher-style’ menu. This means that the food will be prepared using kosher ingredients, as Jewish families would at home, but the preparation will not be supervised under the Beth Din which certifies whether or not food products for sale are officially kosher.

Visitors to the cafe will be able to enjoy Jewish dishes while learning about the history and tradition of Jewish food.

The café will serve a contemporary vegetarian ‘kosher-style’ menu

The menu will showcase a variety of dishes from Jewish communities across the world. The styles of Jewish food are largely divided into two groups, relating to two ethnic divisions: Ashkenazi refers to the descendants of Jews who originated from Northern and Eastern Europe; Sephardi, relates to communities from around the Mediterranean (a nod to the synagogue’s Spanish and Portuguese roots).

Dishes will include a Sephardi-style lentil soup with spinach & drizzle of zesty lemon oil served with pitta and an Ashkenazi vegetarian cholent (a traditional stew normally served for a midday Sabbath meal) served with challah bread.

There will be bagels topped with schmear (cream cheese) and carrot lox in place of the traditional smoked salmon, as well as falafel pittas, filled with hummus, tahini, zhug, chopped salad and pickled chilli pepper.

Falafel pitta and bagel with ‘carrot lox’

Many Jewish celebrations are centred around food, and there will be seasonal specials to celebrate festivals like Chanukah and Shavuot.

The café is working with many local producers, including Jewish-owned businesses like State Fayre bakery, and coffee from Jewish-owned micro roastery in Whitefield, Abe & Co.

Alongside the new café, the museum now features learning kitchen where a programme of food events and workshops will be held.

The museum now features a learning kitchen

The first will be a series of events called Eat the Archives, which will celebrate food and its role in Jewish culture.

Chef Leo Burtin has spent two years working through the museum archives, finding ways to bringing the collection to life through making and sharing food.

Eat the Archives will kick off next week with a three course meal prepared by Leo at the museum on 23 June. There is also the opportunity to host an Eat the Archives event for free in your own home in August.

Manchester Jewish Museum reopens on Friday 2 July. For further news and updates, visit:

A new vegan pizzeria to take over former Dough site in Northern Quarter

Purezza, a new plant-based pizza restaurant, is about to open in Manchester.

Taking over the former Dough site on High Street in the Northern Quarter, Purezza will open to the public on 21 June.

The menu of Neapolitan-style pizzas are topped with the restaurant’s own patented plant-based mozzarella, which they say looks, tastes and melts like the real thing.

The dough can be made with either organic wholegrain sourdough, hemp or ‘Freedom’ (gluten-free) bases.

Pizzas can be made with either organic sourdough, hemp or gluten free base

Each pizza sounds like an episode from Friends, ‘The One With The Friarielli’ with Italian style broccoli, ‘The One That’s Telling Porkies’ with BBQ pulled porketta and ‘The One and Only, Parmigiana Party’ which was the National Pizza of the Year in 2018 and is topped with aubergine parmigiana, crumbled vegan sausages, and a dusting of nutritional yeast.

As well as pizza, meat-free mains include stone-baked lasagna and Cheesesteak Calzone with seitan salami, courgettes and semi-dried tomatoes.

There is a range of vegan desserts too including caramel brownie, lemon cheesecake and The Chocolate One – a sourdough base topped with chocolate-hazelnut spread, white chocolate crumble and ice cream.

The Manchester restaurant will be the fifth site for the brand which opened its first restaurant in the UK in Brighton in 2015, and has since opened restaurants in London, Bristol and Hove.

The Manchester restaurant will be the fifth site for Purezza

Tim Barclay, co-founder and co-owner of Purezza, says: “We’re so excited that our Manchester site is opening, after a few setbacks during lockdowns, and we can’t wait to welcome customers through our doors. We know there’s a vibrant foodie scene in and around the city and that Mancunian pizza lovers will love our menu options, and our sustainable, planet-friendly ethos.

“To celebrate the launch, we’re giving Mancunians free pizza during our soft launch weekend on 18th and 19th June so sign up soon to be in with a chance to win – your friends will love you for it.”

To sign up for the chance to win a table at Purezza on the pre-launch weekender, enter your email on their website here:

Four winners will be selected at random with a table for two and a table for four available on 18 and 19 June, and will enjoy a free a starter, main course, dessert and drink for each person.

Purezza will open on 21 June. To find out more and book a table, visit:

How to book a table at Escape to Freight Island from June 21

21 June is a date that has been in all of our minds for a few months. But while it’s too early to say whether restrictions will ease further on that date, it’s about time to start thinking about making plans for this summer either way.

Like many venues, Escape to Freight Island has been holding off releasing bookings for after June 21. But they have now announced the release of their next wave of bookings, and are taking reservations up until August 28.

When Freight Island reopened the Ticket Hall last month, they welcomed more food traders and bars (and more seats) than ever before.

The Ticket Hall

Alongside the original food vendors, BaratxuriMadre TacosVoodoo RaysPatty Queen and KRUM, the now line up also includes Belzan Pasta Kitchen, Mi and Pho, Maison Breizh and Plant Grill.

The site now houses five bars too, including a low intervention bistrot, Forever Changes,  The Jane Eyre cocktail bar, a Pomona Island craft beer bar and a Koppaberg bar.

Diners can book tables indoors at the recently opened Ticket Hall, the jungle-like Plant Room and the outdoor area Platform 15.

Every time Freight Island has have released tables over the past few months, they have sold quickly, especially for weekend and evening bookings – so we’d advise booking soon.

Those who are signed up to the mailing list were able to get access to a 24 hour pre-sale tickets from 10am on today (Thursday 10 June) and there’s still time to sign up for early access.

Tickets go on general sale at 10am on Friday 11 June.

To book visit: