Korean style kimchi, Canadian inspired poutine, Malaysian style curry, noodle soup, churros, pizza, freshly ground coffee, craft beers, and sourdough bread are all among the Manchester-made treats on offer at Stretford Foodhall, the city’s hottest new food and drink venue.
Stretford Foodhall is now open for business at Stretford Mall, with foodie fans flocking to enjoy an array of international flavours at the new shopping centre eatery and entertainment complex, including many locally produced dishes and brands.
The stylish new venue is the brainchild of Mital Morar, the entrepreneur behind trendy city venue the Ancoats General Store and formerly of Superstore in the Northern Quarter.
He says his latest venture, which includes a convenience store, coffee shop and bar, street food vendors and a florist, will create a community hub and social space with ‘something for everyone’.
Plans are in the pipeline for art exhibitions, record fairs, DJ sets and pub-style quizzes at Stretford Foodhall, on Chester Road beneath Pure Gym at Stretford Mall. Mital believes his evolved convenience store concept can help ‘reignite’ the retail environment in the digital age.
He is keen that the Stretford Foodhall supports local producers so has the likes of Manchester Union Lager, Ancoats Coffee Co, Robinsons the Master Bakers and Soop, who produce instant noodle soups on the go, among his suppliers.
The foodhall also hosts a rotating roster of street food traders which include Manchester-based Slurp, Crackle and Pop, famed for their Asian inspired dishes, and Blue Caribou, who make a hearty Canadian-influenced poutine.
Mital said: “The reaction to Stretford Foodhall has been incredible and the amount of people we’ve had in has been more than I expected.
“We’ve got a convenience store, a bar and coffee shop, and three street food vending stations – that’s us in a nutshell. We offer every day groceries and compliment it with local, niche, quirky and dietary products.
“We use lots of local coffee and milk, and even a local potter – Little Torch Ceramics – who has made our crockery. The bar is stocked with craft beers and house lagers that have been locally made.
“The food offer is exciting. It’s a collaborative approach. We’ve got people involved who have a passion for a specific food or cuisine.
“The food vendors will rotate so that’s an ongoing process. We work with established operators and those just starting out.
“The aim is for the atmosphere to be relaxing and enjoyable. When we’ve fully settled in we will establish a calendar of events, things like quizzes, record fairs, vinyl DJ sets and art events such as a gallery.
“We will engage with the community and local groups on that. It will bring the place to life as a hub and social space. There is something for everyone.”
Mital says he’s been delighted with people’s response to Stretford Foodhall and his modern take on how a convenience store can operate.
He said: “It’s about giving people a change from the norm. It’s a huge extension on what convenience retail can look like in the future.
“The traditional view of a corner shop or a pub or a shopping centre and high street – all that’s gone now in my opinion. It’s changing. The internet has changed it.
“So what do we do about it? This is what we have to do. We have to reignite it.
“Stretford Mall have taken a risk on us but we believe the community is ready for something positive like this. We’re already seeing it, we’ve had people coming in two or three times in one day.”
Gareth Wilkins, Stretford Mall manager, said: “We’ve been really excited about the launch of the new Stretford Foodhall and now it’s opened its doors it provides a massive boost for the shopping centre and the community as a whole.
“The foodhall has always been a crucial part of our ambition to generate a night time economy for Stretford Mall and an active frontage along Chester Road.
“It’s already proving to be a big hit with local people even at this early stage, and with numerous social events in the planning there is no doubt Stretford Foodhall has the potential to become a thriving community hub for the people of Stretford.”