GRUB-E-MART is the food collection and delivery service for these strange times, receiving an unimaginably approving chorus of noises from our bellies. This new venture is brought to us by the good people at GRUB, one of our favourite places in Manchester and frequent voices of reason on social media – loudly championing the plight of local independent businesses since you-know-what began. If you haven’t already, give their open letter about rebuilding better markets a read.
Having set up as street food traders in 2014, husband and wife team Juliana and Jason Bailey began running GRUB Food Fair at Mayfield, teaming up with some of the North’s most exceptional independent food and drink producers and chefs to make a festival-style event where eating was the headline act. Last year they opened up their own venue at The Red Bank Project in the Green Quarter where the festivities continued until recently.
Working tirelessly since everything went into lockdown, GRUB will now be hosting GRUB-E-MART every weekend for the foreseeable future. GRUB-E-MART is essentially the GRUB Food Fair kitted out in PPE. It isn’t going to be the dog-friendly, good times guaranteed vibe of their usual Food Fair, but this collection and delivery service is an opportunity for the traders they work with to sell safely to a public who are desperately missing their delicious headliners.
This Saturday’s traders include Fire in a Hole Bagels who specialise in homemade, charcoal-fired, 48 hour slow proved sourdough bagels. Yaoyao Noodles, a venture from a former chef at Umezushi and icecream from Manchester’s own Exclusive Scoop. All of this alongside the usual woodfired bread from Noi Quattro, kits from Pasta Factory and delicious beers from the likes of Runaway and Manchester Union Lager (who have a crowdfunder you should check out). Ancoats Coffee Co. is there as always for some morning after get-up-and-go.
Sundays are strictly vegan, with this week’s plant-powered offerings from the excellently named Seitan’s Kebab, Gujarati street food from Shakahara and dessert from Drizzle City Bakes. Order online now, the traders rotate each week and expect more to be added as they go, the plan is to keep open the GRUB-E-MART until things are back to normal.
The garden area at the Green Quarter site will be open on Saturday and Sunday afternoons with traders bringing along their take-home “ready” meal kits and desserts alongside a “pop-up offy” stocked with beers, ciders, wines, spirits, sodas, bread, veg boxes, coffee and whatever other treats GRUB can get their hands on.
If you are not ordering a delivery, their aim is to make a visit to GRUB-E-MART safer than your average trip to the supermarket. It’s outdoor only, 100% pre-order click-and-collect – no browsing, a social distance of 2 meters at all times and the collection will be entirely contactless. Visitors are limited, with only one person allowed to access the traders at any one time and there will be a one-way system in place with payments taken online in advance.
Similarly, delivery drivers will be taking every precaution to make the service as safe, if not safer, than the vast majority of delivery services. Head to their website to find out where they are delivering to and how it all works.
We cannot wait to head back to GRUB in person, but for now, with all things considered, this is a pretty fantastic idea.