Popular Manchester street food trader Salt and Pepper has announced it will be closing its stall in the Arndale market in the next three weeks.
The modern Chinese street food stall, which specialises in everything salt and pepper and regularly draws huge queues at lunchtime, blamed ‘limited facilities’ and a lack of extraction (needed to remove cooking fumes) at the market for its abrupt departure.
In a post shared to its social media channels over the weekend, the food traders turned their ire on Manchester City Council – who run the market – claiming bosses had refused to renew their lease unless they invest ‘upwards of £100,000’ to install their own extraction system.
According to the post, which has already been liked over 3,000 times, the council has claimed improving the extraction is the trader’s responsibility, not theirs, citing the popularity of the stall.
The post read: “It is with a broken heart that we’re announcing that our Arndale Market Stall will be permanently closing on April 2nd.
“Due to the limited facilities in the Arndale Market, we’re no longer able to keep trading in this space. If you’ve been to the market, you’d know, there’s isn’t much of an extraction system on our side (to expel smoke & smells) and the Council (who run the market) have said it’s our responsibility to fix this because of the popularity of our stall.
“The Council have said they’re unwilling to renew our lease unless we invest upwards of £100,000 to put in our own extraction system, with additional costs that they couldn’t tell us unless we accepted to pay the £100k.
“It doesn’t seem fair really, but it’s safe to say that it’s time for us to move on.
“We’ve been absolutely gutted, and we’ve spent the past few months trying to figure out how to keep our amazing staff employed and our business dreams alive.
“We never thought we’d have to end our time in the Market so abruptly but, we’re hopeful al is not lost, and we’re excited to move on to the next stage of our business.”
Hinting at plans to open a place of their own in the ‘near future’, owners reassured fans that in the meantime they will be able to get their lunchtime fix at Black Dog Ballroom in the Northern Quarter from April 6.
“They’ve kindly let us to open from 12pm every day (legends) and we will make sure the food and service matches our standards in the Arndale. Deliveroo will also still be available all day,” the post continued.
Salt and Pepper’s stall is based on the newer south side of the street food market, which was expanded into in 2019.
Prior to the expansion, this part of the Arndale Extension was once exclusively home to retail stalls – but May 2019 heralded the arrival of five new food traders: Blue Caribou Poutine, Hong Thai, Holy Crab, Kuku and Intoku in Japanese.
Salt and Pepper moved in a week or so later, taking over the vacant La Bandera stall, and have been in residence pretty much ever since – give or take a short period of closure warranted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Now it appears their time is officially coming to an end, but this will certainly not be the last we hear of them.
A Manchester City Council spokesperson said: “Salt and Pepper have become so successful that our current extraction system is not capable of handling the level of smoke that originates from their stall, which posed a health and safety risk for other traders in the market.
“We have been working with the company since late 2020 to try and supply an improved extraction system. Manchester City Council deny the claims that Salt and Pepper have been asked to pay £100k for this.
“We considered several options, including offering alternative trading locations. Nevertheless, it was decided that we could not offer Salt and Pepper a new lease on Health and Safety grounds.
“We have supported Salt and Pepper by allowing them to trade for a period of time on a licence whilst they found alternative arrangements and wish them luck in their future endeavours.”
To keep up with Salt and Pepper’s moves over the coming months as they transition into their new home, give Salt and Pepper a follow on Instagram here.
Feature image – Salt and Pepper
Ancoats restaurant publicly exposes ‘angry influencer’ after spat over free meal
A restaurant in Ancoats has publicly exposed an influencer (twice…) who tried to ask for a free meal in exchange for exposure.
Lucky Ramen, a tiny spot on Blossom Street that has had queues forming for its noodle soups and Asian brunches, has become embroiled in a spat with an unnamed social media star.
It all started yesterday when the restaurant went public with a message it had received, which was requesting a complimentary brunch in exchange for a post on Instagram.
Lucky Ramen shared the message and wrote that they were ‘thrilled you appreciate our food’ but that the team ‘appreciate paying customers even more’.
They described it as ‘another thrilling DM from a blue tick superstar asking for a free feast in exchange for an Insta post’.
Which was already dramatic enough, but the influencer in question has been quite cross that Lucky Ramen in Ancoats has taken a swipe at them publicly.
It appears they’ve followed up with a much less polite message, saying the independent business is ‘bang out of order’ for trying to expose them.
The influencer asked: “So you think people like us don’t deserve to eat for FREE???”
They argued that they were trying to promote the restaurant for free, offering ‘time, labour, effort and positive energy’ in exchange for the free meal as compensation.
The unnamed user then said: “Your arrogance makes me sick. Haha very funny, you got a couple of giggles but we’re the ones that are laughing.
“We go where we want, eat what we want and lastly – it’s all for free! WHOS LAUGHING NOW???”
Of course, Lucky Ramen hasn’t left that message in the DMs either, once again sharing screenshots on its Instagram page.
And they’ve chosen to smack the influencer with pure sarcasm in retaliation…
They wrote: “Dear angry influencer. Okay, aaalright… you got us! We’re truly sorry for attempting to uncover your behind-the-scenes tactics yesterday and, you know, us trying to make a living and sh*t.
“But hold on, the new message we just got deserves more than a standing ovation!
“This follow-up DM is a total game-changer, and guess what? We’re now rolling out the red carpet for all the free meals you desire. And that’s not all – our chefs are ready to part ways with their Crocs and Birkenstocks, throwing them in as an extra bonus for your tender love and labour! Even my dad’s medal of honour from the Japan war is up for grabs – he’s feeling generous the old geezer, and he’s even contemplating wheeling in his new eco-friendly hybrid wheelchair for you!
“Just hit us up with another DM, let us know when you’re swinging by to collect your well-deserved goodies, and don’t forget to leave a glowing 5-star review on both Google and TripAdvisor.
“We appreciate your understanding and, once again, sorry for the “inconvenience” we caused.
“Bon appétit + Arigato-the-f*ck-outta-here.”
Will the influencer reply again? Someone pass the popcorn.
‘Dangerous’ disqualified driver jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan
A “dangerous” disqualified driver has been handed jail time after crashing into a funfair in Wigan last year.
Jordan O’Reilly, from Platt Bridge in Wigan, has been sentenced after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, perverting the course of justice, and failing to provide a specimen.
The 21-year-old was given three years behind bars following a trial at Bolton Crown Court yesterday (29 February).
O’Reilly’s sentencing comes after he crashed his vehicle into a funfair in Wigan while trying to evade a police pursuit back in October 2023.
#JAILED I A disqualified driver who led police on a chase and crashed into a crowded funfair in #Wigan has been jailed for 3 years
After failing to stop for a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) patrol, O’Reilly then drove in excess of the speed limit and overtook a number of vehicles, all before proceeding to abandon his own moving vehicle to escape.
The vehicle O’Reilly abandoned then carried on moving, and shockingly, ended up colliding with two members of the public at the funfair – with one woman sadly left with “serious injuries” as a result.
But thanks to the help of members of the public, O’Reilly was identified as the driver and later arrested by police.
A ‘dangerous’ disqualified driver has been jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan / Credit: GMP
After he was released on bail, it was established that he had attempted to engage others into assisting him in evading prosecution.
Speaking following O’Reilly’s sentencing this week, PC Wood, of GMP Transport Unit, commented: “O’Reilly’s disregard to his driving disqualification and actions behind the wheel that day were reckless and dangerous, and he put countless people at risk of harm. The injuries caused to the victim show the consequences dangerous driving has on other people.
“GMP would like to thank the members of the public who ensured that O’Reilly faced justice for his actions.”
PC Wood also took a moment to remind the Greater Manchester public that if they know someone who is driving whist dangerously, or while disqualified or unfit to be doing so, then they should report it to GMP.