Neil Burke Blackfriar

Operator confirmed for Black Friar pub 

Dan Whelan

Neil Burke, former regional manager for Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, will manage a 200-cover restaurant in the grade two-listed Salford building, refurbished and extended as part of Salboy’s Local Blackfriars development. 

Salboy had signed up celebrity chef Aiden Byrne to open a restaurant within the Black Friar building but he pulled out of the venture last year. 

Now, a company called Blackfriars MCR, has been set up to run the restaurant, with Salboy’s Simon Ismail named as a director alongside Lee McCarren, managing director of Domis Construction.  

Burke was introduced to McCarren and Ismail by Thom Hetherington, chief executive of hospitality events business Holden Media, which runs the Northern Restaurant and Bar exhibition.

Burke is in the process of putting together a team to run the restaurant as well as overseeing its fit-out ahead of opening this summer.  

Blackfriar

Aiden Byrne had been due to run the restaurant before pulling out

McCarren said: “The Black Friar is an important part of the area’s history and it is massively important to us to see the building open and operating and being used by the community. 

“We are really pleased to have Neil at the helm. He knows how to run a successful restaurant and is currently assembling his team.” 

Burke has spent the last five years as group operations manager at Grounds of Alexandria, a restaurant in Sydney, Australia. 

He said: “It has been an ambition to be able to open a pub restaurant and incorporate all the ideas I have had and honed over the years. 

“To have the financial support to be able to do that in a building as significant as this and hopefully create something very special is an incredible opportunity.” 

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Love the pub the apartment blocks are an eyesore.

By Anonymous

This is really exciting! I hope they get the traction they need to make such an out of the way location work. Key will be getting the pitch right so that the people in the nearby blocks use it with enough regularity. Making it snooty and expensive is going to be failure as soon as fashions change.

By Anonymous

This is great news.

We were amongst one of the first of the creative industries to move to Blackfriars Road, converting the former Manchester Baths, next to the Racquets Club, back in 2003, a few doors down from the (closed) Black Friar pub. Since then, more than 3000 apartments have been built (5000 people?) in the area and there is to be a further 3000 apartments, a public park and a tree-lined boulevard that will open up the Grade 2* listed Collier Street Baths.

Not sure about the ‘out of the way’ description. 10 minutes from M+S. This may be Salford, but is much closer to Manchester’s City centre than the likes of Castlefield or Ancoats. Also has a host of hidden gems for those in the know – Eagle Inn and Elbow’s recording Studios.

Really hope this restaurant venture is a success and followed by more operators.

By Dave McCall

Really looking forward to this pub opening up. It’s going to be a huge benefit to the area and to the 400+ residents at LOCAL Blackfriars.
Glad the Domis / Salboy team managed to find a good operator for the property as well. Praying there’s Guinness on tap!

By C Flood