Chorlton neighbourhood favourite The Creameries has permanently closed, it has been confirmed.
According to chef-owner Mary-Ellen McTague, the business had been doing well at the end of 2019 but has been “f*cked” ever since the pandemic.
Two years of not bringing in enough money, coupled with fewer people eating out, a backlog of loans and then a rise in VAT combined to leave her with little option but to sell – yet whilst there were a few interested buyers, none made it over the finish line.
As a result, after trying a number of different formats to keep the business going, she has made the decision to close up shop for good.
Speaking on closure, Mary-Ellen told the Manchester Evening News: “The whole thing has been awful, but it has been like that since the beginning of the pandemic.
“There was still a chance we were going to make a sale. We had three consecutive buyers who were very close, and then backed away,” she continued.
“The longer the economic instability has gone on, the more and more nervous [buyers] have been.
“In September 2019, we started operating just as a restaurant, doing tasting menus, and it was working so well,” she said. “We had a brilliant Jay Rayner review, it was packed, we were making money, not just keeping afloat. Then the pandemic hit, and we’ve been f**ked since then.”
The former Edwardian Dairy was first opened in 2018 by the esteemed Manchester chef Mary-Ellen McTague as a bakery and natural wine bar serving a selection of pickles and small plates.
It later switched to operating as a restaurant, serving tasting menus that proved very popular with punters, before – like the rest of hospitality – it was forced to close in early 2020 as the country went into lockdown.
When it reopened, it tried a few different things before introducing Campagna, an affordable Italian menu that, whilst popular, didn’t manage to keep bringing in the footfall in the long term.
It appears that a new tenant has secured the site, although further details surrounding the operator are currently being kept under wraps.
“We tried so hard. To adapt and survive, and it just didn’t work,” Mary-Ellen added.
“Pre-pandemic it was really, really, really hard to get to the point where more money was going in than coming out. Restaurants don’t talk about it a lot, but if you ask people off the record, most will say that getting to the point where you’ve done slightly better than break even, that’s a strong month.
“Things went from challenging to just completely impossible.”
Going forward, Mary-Ellen will focus her efforts on her restaurant-backed community project Eat Well MCR, which feeds hidden homeless families in Manchester and has to date delivered over 70,000 meals to people in need.
She will also continue to work on the new Treehouse Hotel opening, which is expected to open in Manchester city centre in early 2023.
Feature image – The Creameries
Police warn criminals ‘don’t bother’ attending Parklife after already making arrest
Greater Manchester Police have said that criminals shouldn’t ‘bother’ coming to Parklife festival this weekend, after already making an arrest at the festival site.
Officers have been carrying out searches of people arriving on site this week – and have already arrested a 24-year-old man.
A quantity of pills and a knife were both recovered from the man, who has been arrested on suspicion of possession of Class A drugs and possession of a bladed article.
After the arrest, Superintendent Phil Spurgeon issued a statement to criminals, saying ‘don’t bother coming to Parklife’.
He said: “We have a really robust police and partnership community safety operation for the festival, and the arrest and seizure yesterday demonstrates the vigilance of security staff, our thorough search procedures and our commitment to keeping people safe.
“Make no mistake, illegal items such as weapons and drugs can have fatal consequences. Our top priority this weekend is keeping people safe, and anyone caught trying to take such items into the festival will be robustly dealt with.
“I hope the genuine festival-goers are excited for the fantastic weekend ahead and I am confident the majority will enjoy the event responsibly and safely.”
Greater Manchester Police and Parklife security staff will be working closely together to intercept anyone travelling to the festival with criminal intentions.
The arrest on 8 June was thanks to the festival’s drug detection dogs.
In a formal statement addressing the situation, the city‘s flagship further education institution says some of its systems have been accessed by an “unauthorised party” and that data has “likely been copied” as a result of this.
The University’s in-house experts are said to be “working around the clock” to resolve the issue.
External support teams are also said to be working in collaboration with the University to understand what data has been accessed.
Patrick Hackett – Registrar, Secretary, and Chief Operating Officer at the University of Manchester – explained in a statement issued this morning: “Regrettably, I have to share with you the news that the University is the victim of a cyber incident, [as] it has been confirmed that some of our systems have been accessed by an unauthorised party and data have likely been copied.
“Our in-house experts and established expert external support are working around the clock to resolve this incident, and we are working to understand what data has been accessed”.
Mr Hackett said he understands the nature of the issue will “cause concern to members of our community”, and says the University is “very sorry for this”.
The University says it is also working with relevant authorities – including the Information Commissioner’s Office, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the National Crime Agency, and other regulatory bodies – to resolve the issue, and will provide information to those affected as soon as they are able to.
Students and staff are also be told to be vigilant to any suspicious phishing emails within the coming days – with the University’s IT Services team having published some relevant advice to refer to.