From food halls to dark kitchens, a lot has changed in the last 10 years
Back in 2010, the Arndale Market was the closest thing Manchester had to a food hall, and street food got about as sophisticated as a burger van in a B&Q car park.
The craft beer scene had barely begun to brew, vegan options were little more than a footnote on most menus, and Deliveroo was not yet a twinkle in an entrepreneur’s eye.
Greater Manchester had just lost its only Michelin star with the closure of Juniper in Altrincham, and the city centre hadn’t had one for more than 30 years.
Fast forward 10 years and the region’s food and drink scene has developed almost beyond recognition.
“Manchester’s dining scene has expanded in every possible way in the last decade; wider, deeper, more geographical spread, more variety and more quality,” said Thom Hetherington, restaurant consultant and CEO of the city’s Northern Restaurant and Bar show.
Recent figures back that up: the number of restaurants in Manchester has risen by more than a quarter in the last five years, we reported in September . And while its pace has slowed in the last year, it’s still growing – fuelled by a rise in quality, independent operators – against a national backdrop of 18 closures a week.
“It’s certainly not been plain sailing, and nor is it perfect, but it’s hard not to be impressed by the innovation, ambition and resilience of Manchester’s food and drink landscape,” said Thom.
“It’s impossible to talk about food and drink in the city without mentioning food halls,” he said.
“Alty Market House was an astounding arrival on the scene, and has changed how people choose to eat and drink not just in Manchester but across the UK.
“There are now market halls in the Northern Quarter, Stockport, Didsbury, and Stretford, with sites in Urmston and Radcliffe also expected to open.
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