Social enterprise The Real Junk Food Project, which uses food destined for waste, has agreed a deal with Bruntwood to open a café at the St James’ buildings in Oxford Road, Manchester.
Real Junk Food Manchester, billed as the city’s first “pay as you feel” restaurant, will sell coffee in partnership with Second City Coffee along with takeaway breakfasts and lunches on weekdays from the ground floor. The basement space will feature a sit-down restaurant, comprising 40 covers, which will be used for dining evenings.
The space is adjacent to Patisserie Valerie and was previously occupied by the Milk Jam pop-up dessert bar.
Real Junk Food describes itself as a not-for-profit organisation, open to all, that is dedicated to making the food system fairer and more sustainable, while supporting some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.
A crowdfunding campaign in January raised £39,000 in 28 days. Real Junk Food Manchester has been operating pop-up events since 2014, with renowned chef Mary-Ellen McTague becoming involved in 2016. Although now resident at Manchester Art Gallery, she remains as executive chef and director.
Corin Bell, director of Real Junk Food Manchester, said: “The support that we received from the crowdfunder was just amazing, beyond all of our expectations.
“It’s just fabulous to have contracts signed and know that we’re not far from being able to fulfil our promise to everyone who’s supported us. We’ve been popping up for long enough now, and we can do so much more in a full time space of our own.”
Toby Sproll, head of retail at Bruntwood, said: “Real Junk Food Manchester is a fantastic addition and we are delighted to be partnered with such an innovative social enterprise.
“Both companies share very similar values, with Real Junk Food Manchester’s strong commitments to a range of social and community projects reflecting our own ethos of supporting the communities in which we operate.”
The project has worked with CHR Food Equipment Services to put an open letter out to Catering Equipment Distributors Association members.
Real Junk Food Manchester is looking to open by September.