MediaCityUK is launching a brand new experience that combines COVID-safe dining with public art and it’s opening at the end of July.
Box on the Docks, which sees MediaCityUK team up with HemingwayDesign, will aim to support both the local hospitality businesses and self-employed creatives by creating a unique, socially distanced dining experience which also doubles as a piece of impactful public art.
The initiative will see approximately 30 ‘boxes’ – taking the form of deluxe sheds and greenhouses – placed outside the restaurants and cafes at MediaCityUK and will offer external, self-contained dining pods that allow visitors to return to their favourite restaurants and bars in a safe, secure and welcoming environment, all whilst ensuring social distancing guidelines are met.
Plenty of well-loved Manchester independents and national names are taking part, including The Dockyard, known for their craft ale and artisan pies, popular cocktail bar The Alchemist, Vertigo Plant-Based Eatery – which is due to open its second branch at MediaCityUK imminently – and award-winning coffee specialists Grindsmith.
A second phase of participants is set to be announced later this month too.
For those that just want a casual drink, coffee, or to grab ice cream with the kids, there’ll also be additional outdoor distanced seating with views of the waterfront as well.
With support from the Salford Culture and Place Partnership, Box on the Docks has sent out 15 artist commissions for decorating the ‘boxes’ to a number of local organisations, as well as offering opportunities to Salford students and early-career artists who are graduates of Salford University School of Art.
Designs submitted so far include everything from neon light installations and murals, to sound projections and even poetry.
Speaking on the new collaboration, Stephen Wild, Managing Director at MediaCityUK, said: “We pride ourselves on the quality of our public spaces at MediaCityUK, providing a safe and welcoming environment for all.”
“We know the hospitality and creative industries have been among the hardest hit by the impact of COVID-19, and [this] is our way of helping them back on their feet. ‘Box on the Docks’ is the first in a series of initiatives, which will see us partnering with our key occupiers and the wider cultural community to deliver exciting outdoor activities during these uniquely challenging times.”
Josie Cahill, Place Director at MediaCityUK, said: “As people start to safely spend more time outside, Box on the Docks will hopefully offer a new cultural destination with the boxes becoming an al fresco gallery to explore the work of Salford-based artists whilst enjoying the green space and canal views at MediaCityUK.
“We’re looking forward to seeing the commissions installed and welcoming visitors safely back to MediaCityUK.”
Wayne Hemingway, Co-Founder of HemingwayDesign, added: “At HemingwayDesign we are “glass half full” and after all these months of lockdown we are keen to emerge having fun (safely of course) and support both local creative practitioners as well as the cafés and restaurants who have been shut down for all these months.”
“Box on the Docks delivers on all these and gives people a welcome dash of serendipity.”
Box on the Docks is sure to be a welcomed addition to reignite the Salford cultural scene and help the hospitality industry back on its feed post-COVID.
Paul Dennett, Mayor of Salford, said: “The hospitality and creative industries have been amongst the hardest hit from the impacts of COVID-19, with Greater Manchester’s visitor economy worth £2.6bn GVA per year, supporting 105,000 jobs and our Creative Industries worth £4.4bn GVA per year, supporting 78,500 jobs in the city-region.”
“It’s critical we do all we can to support these important sectors, this is why innovative and creative projects such as ‘Box on the Docks’, which offer a safe framework to help our local restaurants and independent creatives get back on their feet, are so important.”
“I look forward to supporting this innovative initiative in our city and would like to thank everyone involved.”
For more information ahead of the launch, visit the Box on the Docks website here and follow @boxonthedocks on all social platforms.
The Manc is helping local businesses and venues get back on their feet after lockdown with our #BuzzingToBeBack campaign – offering as much support and exposure for Manchester hospitality as possible.
Read more about what we’re doing for the industry here.
Kool Runnings’ legendary Caribbean food truck is back in Old Trafford
Now more than ever, we’re starting to get used to the fact that the food businesses we love often come and then go. But in the case of Kool Runnings’ Caribbean food truck, whenever it goes missing there’s always more than a little bit of a panic.
The legendary kitchen-on-wheels has been feeding its community for a quarter of a decade, and if it disappears – as it sometimes does – its loyal regulars start to fret.
Lately, the truck has been missing from its Old Trafford patch. As a result, fans have been left wondering what is going on and whether it might have closed for good, as so many great hospitality businesses seem to be doing at the moment.
Good news, then, that after a short hiatus, it is back: once again parked up in its rightful spot, slinging out its famous fried and jerk chicken, as well as handmade patties, massive dumplings, creamy coleslaw, mac and cheese, and plenty more to the waiting crowds.
Owner Aval Saunders has been steadfastly feeding his community what is widely considered to be some of the best Yard food in the north since 1998, cooking late into the night out of his food truck with a little help from his sons.
He hates waste and will generally stay open serving until all the food is gone. Making everything from scratch, with fresh patties prepared daily, also means that everything is super fresh – but the days are long, and he works hard.
Queues here are common, especially in the summer when the smell of spiced meat on charcoal billows from the trailer and hungrily winds its way around the neighbourhood.
It’s unsurprising, then, that he felt he needed a bit of a break – telling us that he has just returned from spending time abroad recuperating in Jamaica.
“So yeah, we’ve been back home to Jamaica just to have a bit of rest because you know we’re busy we’re very busy,” he told The Manc.
“A lot of people missed us you know, since we come back a lot of people came back, complaining, kept saying ‘where were you guys, where were you guys?’ But we had to take a break because we’re tired innit.”
It’s dark and our pictures don’t really do it justice, but trust us when we say that the food here is worth every bit of hype that it gets.
A fixture in the community for some twenty-five years now, it’s become a longstanding favourite for whole generations.
Aval’s cooking has also amassed some famous fans over the years. Footballers like Sergio Agüero, Andy Cole and Rio Ferdinand, as well as sports personalities Usain Bolt and Tyson Fury are known to be regulars.
Even Ainsley Harriot of Ready Steady Cook fame has popped by the truck in the past for a scran, so we understand.
This is the sort of food that you just want to shovel in, no cutlery needed. Packed with flavour, then jerk chicken here is marinaded in a secret rub and then thrown on the grill until it’s blackened with smoke, whilst its accompanying gravy is thick, sweet and peppery with a nice hidden kick.
Thank goodness, then, that the Kool Runnings truck is back where it belongs. With the Longsight shop currently closed for a refurb, we were starting to wonder where to go for our next fix.
This month award-winning piemakers Great North Pie Co will officially open in Manchester city centre, bringing its high-quality goodies to Kampus for the very first time.
Serving up a modern take on traditional pie and mash dinners, a new, seasonal menu features four butter-pastry pies, stuffed to the brim using only the best ingredients from North West producers.
From 14-hour braised beef and ale pies, to roast chicken and mushroom and the company’s hero classic Lancashire cheese and onion, pie fans can expect to find classic flavour combinations done well at the cosy and intimate new space.
Each pie on the menu is served with a wide range of sides, with choices including buttery mash or proper home-style chips, cauliflower cheese, pickled red cabbage, mushy garden peas or chip shop mushy peasall served withroast onion and brown sauce gravy or the house curry sauce- the ultimate feed.
There will also be weekly comfort food specials such as lamb and pea steamed suet puddings, corned beef hash, Lancashire Hot Pot, and keema and chips.
To round off the perfect meal, puddings include school dinner-style sweet treats like chocolate sponge and custard and the classic sticky toffee pudding.
Breakfast sandwiches will be served daily between 10:30am and 2.30pm and will feature quality versions of all the breakfast classics including Cheshire Smokehouse honey-cured bacon and Stornoway black pudding.
The drinks menu, meanwhile, includes the likes of Manchester Union Lager on draught, a selection of quality wines and proseccos, plus a handful of spritz style cocktails.
With booth-style seating for 20 inside and an outdoor area seating area for up to 30 more overlooking the Kampus garden and canal, the cosy new pie cafe is the first resident to arrive on the cobbles of Kampus’s Little David Street.
Neil Broomfield, co-founder of Great North Pie Co, said: “Since we started making pies it’s always been an ambition to have a base in the city centre.
“We’d been looking for a while and as soon as we saw Kampus, Little David Street and the gardens, we knew it was the right place for us. While it’s our first city centre venue, we don’t have plans to rollout out any more, as we place our focus on keeping the quality and consistency we aim for.
“We just want to concentrate on doing one thing and doing it well. The mix of traders coming into Kampus is amazing and we’re so proud to be part of it.”
Great North Pie Co also has venues in Lake District’s Ambleside and in Altrincham Market. Its products can also be found at monthly farmers markets, where they started the business, in locations such as Urmston, Knutsford, Northwich, Altrincham, Chester, Wilmslow, Chorlton, Bakewell, Macclesfield and West Didsbury.
The pie brand supplies pubs and restaurants nationwide and also supplies to the likes of Booths, Robinsons’s brewery, Dukeshill Hams, Manchester City Football Club, Stockport County FC, and other popular pubs and restaurants across the country.