Matt & Phred's founder part of team bringing vegan folk cafe to Thomas Street and a new cask ale haven in Chorlton
Ah, some good news for Northern Quarter, in amongst all the hand-wringing over aggressive development and property speculation.
Matt Nickson, the founder of Manchester musical institution Matt & Phred's, has teamed up with Adam Regan - the man who brought Stage & Radio to the old Cuba Cafe - to take control of the closed Odd bar site on Thomas Street.
Alongside Regan and his wife, Annabel Holland, Nickson - who parted ways with Matt & Phred's over a decade ago - plans to convert Odd into a new vegan enclave called Folk & Soul (groovy).
Opening in mid-April, the team say everything, from the wallpaper to the beer, will be a celebration of the region's vegetable excellence.
“We’ll be genuinely plant-based, cooking dishes from the freshest vegetables from our region," says Nickson, a keen allotment holder himself.
“In the North West you can find fourteen kinds of kale, a new potato heritage that once rivalled Jersey’s, Fylde asparagus, amazing gooseberries – the list is endless. We are going to showcase them all on our menu."
Nickson tells us they'll also be working with Joseph Holt to supply a vegan house ale and lager, while Allpress coffee will provide the vegan beans.
The team will also soon begin work turning Oddest in Chorlton into Mash Tun - a new cask ale bar
Having spent time in the kitchens of Gordon Ramsay, chef-turned-entrepreneur Regan opened the Cutting Room cafe and bar in Ancoats in 2015 (now closed). He followed this the following year with NYC-inspired pizza and music venue Stage & Radio, on Port Street.
He says the new 100-cover vegan restaurant will use "the best seasonal veg available on the day".
"By midday we will have prepped it all. The chefs will be encouraged to create lots of specials - there'll be no burgers, hot dogs or fake meat."
Meanwhile, over in Chorlton, the team say they will soon begin work turning the closed Oddest site on Wilbraham Road, Chorlton into a new cask ale haven called Mash Tun.
For this Nickson and Regan have teamed up with local brewer Scott Martin - a previous partner in Regan's ill-fated Goose Fat & Wild Garlic/Fundamentum Brewery project in Ancoats. Better luck this time, we hope.