EAGERLY anticipated does not do it justice. Stretford folk just can’t wait to pack their new Foodhall. What was once an anodyne Argos unit in the peeling Mall has been transformed by Mital Morar and the team behind Manchester’s favourite ‘corner shop’, Ancoats General Store.
It’s a bold move, becoming the centrepiece of the £2.5m regeneration of the precinct. We love Stretford but it’s unlikely any time soon to be joining Ancoats in those lists of the UK/World’s coolest ‘hoods. Whatever, what was planned as a soft launch ahead of the official opening in the week beginning July 8 has generated some serious footfall.
As at Ancoats, the site is shared between a convenience shop selling a mixture of everyday essentials and more niche gourmet items, craft beers and a bar and coffee shop. There’s a significant nod to Fairtrade, organic, sustainble and a no packaging focus.
A significant difference in Stretford is a rotating street food line-up – think of it as an augmented version of the Thursday Scrancoats pop-ups.
Already in situ for the next few days is a street trader new to us. Slurp Crackle and Pop describe themselves as Asian inspired street food. ‘Kimchini’, above, is crispy arancini balls with homemade kimchi and Gruyere cheese served with black garlic mayo.
Also en route is a proven street food hero, Blue Caribou, canteen whose Canadian-style poutine has proved a success at a permanent home in Manchester Arndale.
Mital told us at the inception: “We collaborate at Ancoats with street food vendors, local DJs, musicians and artists. We create a space where people want to spend time and where we can work together with local people’s businesses, and talents flourish too. We aim for the same to happen at Stretford.”
Early days yet, but already it looks a product winning the hearts of Stretfordians.
Indie trader boost for Stockport Produce Hall
Entrepreneur Steve Pilling is seeking to dispel criticism that it’s mostly his brands that occupy the counters at Stockport Market Place’s new food hall. The arrival of quality Marple duo Chaat Cart (Indian street food) and Angkor Soul (Cambodian) should spice up the offering.