The transformation of Altrincham’s Market Quarter continues at a pace, with the opening today of Urban Burger Bar.
A family-friendly restaurant in the mould of Manchester sensation Almost Famous, it’s the brainchild of Timperley-born Andrew Cleary and fills the Greenwood Street space left by Chinese restaurant 9th Dragon, and the one-time home of Jamfish bar.
“We looked at Manchester and saw all these burger restaurants – Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Almost Famous, Red Grill coming up – and we just felt there was nothing like that round here and there wasn’t even anything like that in Didsbury,” says Cleary.
“As soon as I threw the idea out there to friends, they just said ‘go for it’. We looked for a site in Hale but there wasn’t anywhere with the right space and the cost is through the roof.
“We looked at Altrincham, and with the market investment and the library, offices and apartments coming into the hospital – and we saw the plans for the pedestrianisation outside – it was a no-brainer. We might have to wait a year but it’s going to be there and it will be perfect.”
Urban Burger Bar will be open six days a week, from 12 to 9 from Tuesdays til Thursdays, 12 to 9.30 on Fridays and Saturdays, and 12 to 5 on Sundays. “But the good thing about being independent is that we can change if we want,” says Cleary.
[blockquote]You’ve got the two Belgian bars, Riddles next door, the market, and Pi at the end, it’s like the perfect place to be right now[/blockquote]
The style is relaxed and the food family-friendly. Products will be all British and sourced locally, many from the market across the road.
The industrial-chic interior – the table tops were previously used as scaffolding boards – contains 64 covers, and there’s a clear ambition to pick up from where the now closed American Bar in Hale left off in terms of target audience.
“It was the only real family place people really went to, and we’re going for the same crowd,” says Cleary. “It doesn’t mean it’ll be like TGI Fridays or Frankies and Benny’s with balloons or stuff like that, but we want parents to be able to bring their kids in and enjoy the kids’ menu or the ice cream station and the slush machine.
“That’s why we’re staying open all day as well, so that when the parents pick the kids up at half 3 they can come here for tea.”
He also hopes to appeal to the office crowd, especially when the old hospital is converted.
Cleary, 24, has brought in 10 staff for his new operation and has installed Stacey Bradley as manager.
His experience actually comes from the other end of the restaurant spectrum – fine dining – from no less than the Ritz in London, where he was private dining head waiter. He’s also worked at the Lowry and Hilton in Manchester, as well as Altrincham’s own House.
“A lot of people don’t want to go to fine dining restaurants anymore because people feel pressured,” he says, “but here you come in and sit down and it’s more of a relaxed atmosphere which I think is what Altrincham needs.
“You’ve got the two Belgian bars, Riddles next door, the market, and Pi at the end, it’s like the perfect place to be right now.”
Below: Inside Urban Burger Bar, and Andrew Cleary (bottom)