The long-awaited market opened at 12pm yesterday in the 12,700 sq ft grade two-listed building in the Northern Quarter, with co-founder Nick Johnson saying it “could feed at least 20,000 people a week”.
Market Operations, the team behind the Altrincham Market, was co-founded with Jennifer Thompson. Both Johnson, former Urban Splash deputy chief executive, and Thompson were at the opening, and have let six of the nine units to existing Altrincham traders.
These include Reserve Wines, Honest Crust, Blackjack Brewery’s Jack in The Box bar, Wolfhouse Coffee, Little Window and Tender Cow. The remaining three units were let by new traders, including Wolfhouse’s sister company Baohouse, Naationale 7, and Fin.
Johnson said: “Considering we’ve only been open for thirty minutes, the place is bustling already.
“Given that Altrincham Market has 170 covers and feeds more than 10,000 a week, the fact this has 480 covers means we could feed at least 20,000 a week.”
All units are occupied but the mezzanine will remain closed until the weekend to complete finishing touches. With a seating capacity of 400, there is a strictly no-bookings policy for diners.
Around a third of the communal seating was full within the first thirty minutes and there was a hive of activity in the market space from both traders and customers. When ordering, customers gave their names so that waiters could bring food to tables efficiently, and the rapidity of service despite the first day of opening was exemplary.
Kenny Cottam is head chef at Baohouse. He said: “We’ve learnt from any mistakes made at Altrincham Market while we were part of Wolfhouse and have really refined what we do, especially as a sister company now.
“You can’t predict how well a launch will go but so far so good. I’ll be working at this site for the foreseeable future to make sure everything goes as well as it can.”
Cottam added that he’d hired five new employees to help run Baohouse and Wolfhouse Coffee across both the Altrincham and Mackie Mayor sites.
Mackie Mayor dates back to 1854 and was formerly a meat market but had been empty since the early 1990s. Planning permission was granted in September 2016 after Muse Developments completed the restoration of the building, located on Swan Street, earlier that year.
It marks the sixth and final phase of Muse’s development of the Smithfield area, which in total took place across 14 years.
Click any image below to launch gallery