There will be over 300 wines and artisan cheeses available at great prices

Since lockdown began in March and he was forced to close his eponymous restaurant, as well as his Norden pub The Bird at Birtle, the usually mile-a-minute Andrew Nutter has been keeping characteristically busy. 

He was one of the first to pack up cook-at-home meal kits and host live cook-alongs on Facebook, as well as hosting a socially distanced BBQ on the streets of Rochdale. “The regulations were very strict on that one, as you’d expect,” Nutter told us. “I had to be escorted, and I wasn’t allowed to drive myself, which worked out well because each household ended up making me a different cocktail.” He also now has a regular 20-minute slot on Radio Manchester on Friday afternoons at 2.20pm where people ask him cooking questions.

There will be lots of very special cheeses not usually available in supermarkets

But you don’t stay in the restaurant business for 27 years without being creative in troubled times and Nutter has come up with a number of ideas to keep his independent family business running whilst complying with current government guidelines. 

Phase one starts today, as Andrew and a small number of staff will be opening an artisan cheese and wine boutique in the reception area of their huge Rochdale restaurant. 

2020 06 04 Nutters Reception
Nutter's reception being set up for the new cheese and wine boutique

Along with around 300 wines to choose from their award winning list, at hugely discounted prices, they will be serving vacuum packed selections of artisan cheeses along with Nutter’s cookery books and pay-it-forward restaurant vouchers with extended expiry available until the end of 2021.

“Social distancing will be in place, but we hope to catch up with all our loyal friends new and old,” adds Andrew.

Staff will be in the car park carefully regulating when cars arrive so they can be directed into parking bays to monitor the flow of people arriving. Once invited in, guests have the opportunity to browse through the wine selection, which will be boxed up and delivered to their car. 

2020 06 04 Nutters Cheese Selection
There will be two artisan cheese selections on offer with many special varieties not available in supermarkets

There will be lots of very special cheeses not usually available in supermarkets such as truffled Brie and Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire – he may even chuck in some home made chutneys and a slab of freshly baked focaccia for a proper weekend cheeseboard treat.

As restrictions start to ease, Nutter’s are making steps towards a different sort of future, with lots of news to come over the coming weeks on changes and procedures at the restaurant. 

“We’re just waiting week by week on government guidelines,” says Nutter. “There’s loads to consider about who is going to monitor the toilets for example and we want to make sure our guests still feel like they’re getting the full Nutter experience. 

“The reason people come is to enjoy the atmosphere and to get looked after which involves interaction with the team. Without that, the joy of the industry might be lost.”

2020 06 04 Nutters Foccaccia
Andrew has baked 'a few' of his famous focaccia loaves

However, two things Nutter isn’t short of is lots of room (the restaurant is huge and has a private dining room for functions) and plenty of imagination – his annual Mother’s Day, Bonfire Night and Birthday events are almost legendary, but mostly have had to be cancelled this year.

“It’s a shame, because the grounds look amazing at the moment,” laments Nutter in regard to the six and a half acres that surround the restaurant. There’s also a heli pad and lots of room for things such as socially distanced catered picnics with some form of live entertainment. Who knows? Keep your eyes on Nutter’s social media feed to see what he’s planning. 

But for now, treat yourselves to a drive up to Norden and fill your face with cheese this weekend.

The new wine and cheese boutique will be open Thursdays 4-7pm, Fridays 4-7pm, Saturdays 10am-1pm.

Nutter's Restaurant, Edenfield Road, Norden, Rochdale, OL12 7TT
Tel - 01706 650167

Andrew Nutter
Lockdown and social distancing won't stop Andrew Nutter from coming up with ideas

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