Our UK tour of local, independent cafes continues North from our first stop in Bath up the M5 and M6, through Birmingham towards my home town of Warrington. (If you missed Part 1 of the tour down in Bath, take a look back at the last post about the lovely Chapel Arts Cafe in Bath and their amazing Orange and Pistachio Cake by following the link here).
For anyone who’s ever had to endure the pain of the M6, the journey from Birmingham to Manchester seemed to take forever (as always). I never figure out whether its the annoying people at the Highways Agency setting the speed limit to 50 or the traffic itself that makes the journey take so long. The right turn onto the M56 at Knutsford can never come quick enough, Anyway, having endured one of the worst parts of the British Motorway network, the next stop on the independent cafe tour for this trip is the lovely market town of Altrincham in Greater Manchester.
Wythenshawe or Hale Barns – Keeping Up with the Bouquets
My mum lives in Wythenshawe and we love popping into Altrincham for a family breakfast whenever we visit her. For those of you who don’t know this part of the UK, Wythenshawe is not exactly the most glamorous part of Manchester. It’s full of lovely, friendly people but its not the nicest place to look at and it certainly doesn’t impress the ladies at the Women’s Institute. There have been occasions where my mum has been caught telling people she lives in Hale Barns to sound a little bit fancier. There’s not much difference really, but one is a housing estate that gets all the noise of Manchester Airport and the other is where half of the footballers in Manchester live. Owing to the fact that my parents downsized to a one-bedroom bungalow the second I left home and joined the RAF at the age of 17, we always end up staying in a hotel when we visit my mum. Fitting into her little bungalow to eat isn’t so easy so its great to get the chance to go out for breakfast instead. It also has something to do with the fact that my mum normally has no concept of foods that go together at any mealtime. Roast beef, onion bhaji and pizza is a regular meal in her house. So faced with a breakfast of muesli, black pudding and heavens know what else it always seems a great chance to visit one of my favourite cafes, the Oxford Road Cafe in Altrincham.
The Oxford Road Cafe – It’s In Oxford Road Behind Sainsbury’s
The Oxford Road Cafe is fairly easy to find. Firstly, it’s name gives away the fact that its in Oxford Road, just on the corner with Peter Street. It’s tucked just behind Sainsbury’s, down the alley to the left hand side of the supermarket’s entrance. There’s a branch of a well known coffee chain in the supermarket and for most people it always seems the easy option. The Oxford Road Cafe is an amazing example of what you can find if you just look that little bit further and try something new.
Introducing the Cafe Team
The Oxford Road Cafe has been open for 5 years now and is owned by Manchester local, Johnny Hanson. Johnny is a great fan of local businesses and the cafe prides itself on getting its supplies from local providers. By supporting local independent places like the Oxford Road Cafe, there’s also a knock on effect to supporting all their local suppliers as well. On duty in the Cafe when we were visited were Emma, Ashley, Isobel and Lucy. With the cafe totally packed full, they were doing a great job keeping everyone happy and even found time to pose for a picture for the blog. As well as the independent businesses that I’m trying to encourage people to support, my blog is as much about the great people like them who work hard every day, often without any thanks at all. So as well as visiting local, independent cafes take a few moments to say hi to the staff and thank them for the job they do.
A Great Breakfast Cafe – Healthy or Full English
I’ve been to the Oxford Road Cafe a few times now, I always try and stop in for breakfast at some point when I am visiting my mum in Wythenshawe (or Hale Barns, whichever). One of the great things about the Cafe is the wide selection of breakfast options. Living outside the UK, a full English Breakfast is a real treat so I usually have one of those. However, on this visit back to the UK we’d been overindulging a little bit too much so it was nice to have the option of a something more healthy.
Trudy and I went for the Avocado on Toast with Bacon and Poached Eggs. It’s not often that you find a reasonably healthy option on a menu that is this good. Believe me it really was that good.
Not Just Breakfast
The Cafe doesn’t only serve Breakfast. It has won local awards for it’s Burgers and their diverse menu also includes Burritos, Ribs and Steak, as well as Jacket Potatoes if you fancy a lighter bite to eat. The Cafe is also famous for their amazing sandwiches. I had the hot meatball sandwich on a previous visit and I can recommend that for sure! The wide selection of hot and cold sandwiches means that even fussy teenagers can be catered for.
Visit Your Local Cafe – Support Local Businesses
We had a lovely couple of hours having a family breakfast at the Oxford Road Cafe. It was wonderful enjoy some great food whilst also supporting a local business that is at the heart of the community. It might be easy to visit the usual chain places. But by exploring a little deeper and supporting places like the Oxford Road Cafe you can help to keep your high street thriving. It also helps to support local suppliers as well so everyone wins. The more we can all make choices like this, even occasionally, the more chance these local businesses have to survive.
So go and visit your local cafe – meet the real people behind them and then tell your friends about it.
The Oxford Road Cafe is open from 8am to 5 pm Monday to Friday and from 9am to 5 pm at Weekends. Keep in touch with the goings on in the cafe on their Facebook page (here).