Welcome to our second blog. It's been six weeks since we first updated with a (hopefully) helpful little FAQ covering all the main information about "the new place". (TL;DR: bigger, better, open later, bar, bakery, dogs still welcome)
As you probably know, this has been a long time coming but it's a brand spanking new construction so we were (somewhat) prepared for the delays that could entail. We persevered over 18 months because Edge Street is an amazing community to be a part of within the Northern Quarter, and the premises really are fantastic. We're striving to create our own dream vegan venue, and are so excited to make it a reality and share it with you!
Anyway, we've covered all that before and you're here for an update...
We've been ploughing on trying to get last bits of "snagging" finished on site and are pleased to report that it's now finally all sorted: We exchanged contracts and got keys to our new premises earlier this week! Yay!
Finally getting the keys and official tenancy on Edge Street means we've been able to spring into action making arrangements for all the works to begin to turn the space from its current empty 'shell' state, to the finest vegan junk food emporium in all the land.
Work begins fitting and kitting out the diner and bar towards the end of this month. At the beginning of August, our custom vegan commercial kitchen and bakery will begin to be installed, including... a smoker! When we say we're stepping things up Manchester, we're serious.
We're delighted to have one of the North's finest traditional sign painters and illustrators Jim Medway on board to decorate our windows, new A-board, and signs inside the diner. We've loved Jim since he put out the comic Teen Witch back in 2007 and as a former Manchester resident, we knew he would understand the area we're joining and what we hope to add to it.
We enjoy Jim's work in particular from a vegan perspective. As studio.co observed:
Jim Medway's drawings combine social realism with children's book anthropomorphism.
“…friends often tell me with delight that they've just seen some of my cats outside the cornershop or brawling at the taxi rank.”
Typically depicting a young urban socially and politically excluded underclass his drawings merge ideas of 'urban other' with 'animals as other' and reveal a cast of cheeky or loveable rogues.
Paradoxically, turning people into cats seems to humanise them, in the sense that we are often closer to our pets than our siblings.
Awesome, right? We're also well on with collecting art work to decorate, both prints from artists around the world, and commissioned custom works from our vegan friends, including tattoo artists Harriet Heath, Hannah Clark, Tom Chippendale and apprentice SJ Young, as well as illustrators Michael Ribeiro and former team V Rev member and current Redwood Tattoo shop manager Ailsa Rhiannon.
In addition to adorning the walls, we're commissioning some rad merch with designs from various artists, with a portion of profits donated to various animal rights and vegan causes.
We'll be capturing progress from now on with the help of local vegan designer and photographer Elliot Forde. You might have met him already working at Lush Arndale or at a Manchester Pig Save demo - we're really excited to work with him to capture the close down and farewell from Oldham Street, and the decoration at Edge Street, as well as the menu items we develop there, so keep an eye out for future blogs and newsletters as they'll definitely be more visual!
So, the wheels are finally in motion: what a time to be alive! Brb with more progress soon...