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.
The Failsworth pizzeria with queues of delivery drivers and mac and cheese pizza
There are a lot of contenders vying for the title of the best pizza in Greater Manchester – but judging by the endless stream of delivery drivers traipsing up to Failsworth, Corner Slice might be up there…
This little pizzeria has carved out a niche for itself serving Detroit-style pizzas, and though some have attempted the same, no one comes close to this quality.
These deep-dish rectangular pizzas are made with a lighter, spongier dough than the sort of chewy Neapolitan you see a lot of these days.
They’re baked in a dish so that the edges crisp up perfectly, and with toppings and cheese spread right to the edges, you get a lot of bang for your buck.
Corner Slice has just raised the bar again with its menu of creative toppings, including – and brace yourself here – mac and cheese pizza.
The Lord Lane local clearly looked at its normal thick-based pizzas and went ‘hmm, no, not enough carb. Add pasta’.
The result is their oozy, gooey mac and cheese pizza called Mr Mac – a béchamel base with macaroni, smoked mozzarella, a cheese blend, and a pesto crumb. Oh lordy.
Other menu highlights include the Red Wing (nduja, jalapeños, pepperoni and hot honey) and Sunrise (Korean BBQ cauliflower, gochujang mayo, kimchi onions and pickled cucumber) – the former leaving you with streaks of bright red chilli honey up your arms, the latter so packed with flavour that you find yourself staring down at your slice in amazement after each bite.
And if you just can’t decide, you can always go half-and-half on your pizza topping.
It’s not just about the pizzas either.
Half-and-half Detroit-style pizza at Corner SliceParmesan waffle fries and buffalo chicken
Corner Slice also has incredible sides, like Korean BBQ popcorn chicken, parmesan waffle fries, and garlic dough rolls with rotating flavours.
There are dips too, made on-site, like the fermented hot sauce that’s probably most closely related to Buffalo sauce (but infinitely more interesting) and BBQ ranch.
The whole time we’re there (which is midday on a Friday) there’s a constant stream of delivery drivers coming to collect orders. The phone never stops ringing.
At one point, they take an order that’s fit to feed an entire American football team.
It looks like the future is bright for Corner Slice. And thank god – we’re already lusting after those crusts.
Corner Slice in FailsworthA spread of pizzas and sides at Corner Slice in Failsworth