Food always plays a major part in the life of a muso - so an important part of life!
Who remembers the first Wimpy bar in Manchester? It was on Oxford Street just a bit further up from Barrats music shop, (there's a Maplins electronics shop on that spot now).
The guys that worked there used to spend hours scraping the hot plate.
Its a pity the people who started MacDonalds and Burger King didn't go there, they may have discovered that you don't put bloody wet lettuce and raw tomatoes on burgers, they are supposed to have FRIED ONIONS on them.
John (Butch) Mepham
I remember going in the Wimpy at the corner of Piccadilly Plaza and being surprised to be served by Paul Partakis ragged him a bit as he served us about Spring Gardens, Takis and Roundtrees not doing well and him having to get a job. Think he had just bought the franchise and was working to see where the fiddles were.
Wimpey Bar, Piccadilly - having a coffee and burger after a night at Top Of The Town.
Does anyone remember the great coffee shops in Manchester of the '60s? Like the Gay Dolphin on Piccadilly? Espresso Bongo (Victoria) Alasia, etc.
Many of these where owned by Greek Cypriots with a lot of dishy waiters! My friends and I couldn't wait for lunchtime at Sparrow Hardwicks (Piccadilly) to go eat and stare. All harmless fun!
How many musicians remember (Greasy) Nick's Oxford Snack Bar on Oxford Road which was at street level below the Plaza Ballroom (Tiffany's) until the site was redeveloped.
It was perhaps the only one on a City Centre High Street which opened 24 hours a day. Consequently, no matter what time you arrived back in Manchester after a gig you could always get a fry up or a hot sandwich.
The father of the family, Nick himself, owned several other places in the City centre and this was not generally known.
These included The National Milk Bar on Corporation Street in the old Evening News building, the Favourite opposite the Town Hall at the John Dalton St corner of Albert Square, and I am led to believe he may have owned the "Egg and I" on Deansgate, opposite the former ABC cinema.
Nick died about 10 years ago and his passing merited a write up in the Manchester Evening News when his funeral paused outside his last remaining cafe on Deansgate. His son, Theo, who ran the Oxford in the 1960s still ran the last cafe at the time of Nick's death.
The Wimpy Bar on Oxford Road closed in the late 60s and for a time was the headquarters of the new Sun newspaper after its conversion from the Daily Herald.
The building was later taken over by A1 music retailers and became a virtual Aladdin's cave of group gear.
In the sixties, of course, Manchester had six City Centre railway stations and most had buffet bars which were open until the early hours depending on services. The stations at London Road, Victoria and Central were always sources of a late night or early morning brew and a sarnie, unless you were brave enough to try their meat pies of questionable pedigree!!!!
Finally, nearly every town had at least one chippy with a dining room at the back. Our favourite was a few yards down Parrin Lane on the Winton side of Monton Canal bridge.
The place was heaving at 1130 after the nearby Labour Club and Brown Cow threw their patrons out. We spent many a good couple of hours with guys from the other Eccles groups in the Parrin Lane "Ritz".
I just had to write a comment regarding Nicks cafe On Oxford Road in Manchester I'm Nicks daughter and my Dad died 7 years ago but some of the facts here aren't actually accurate!
After the Oxford got knocked down, he spent many years in a restaurant in Blackpool where we all worked there.
He didn't own the Egg & I as far as I know!
But he was well remembered and we miss him dearly.
Thanks for the write up though.
Theo is now in Urmston at the County Grill on the bridge, working with his cousin Matthew and Lilian Spanou.
A great place to eat while waiting for the train at Deansgate. I used to have a meal of steak pie and chips before seeing my boyfriend off to Blackpool, who back in 1969, was in an approved school. He was let out for the weekend. I was 15 and he was 16.
I remember wearing a green maxi coat as it was winter and as we were leaving rountrees on the radio was "Fairwell is a lonely sound" by Jimmy Ruffin.
We both hugged each other and cried, waving good bye to someone you love. We got married in 1971 and are still married with children and grandchildren. Thank you very much Rowntrees of Deansgate.
Blackbird Cafe back of C&A. Massive underground cafe down steep staircase from small back street. Long serving counter bit like school dinners, with loads of dinner ladies in beige "pinnies" dishing up pies, peas, stew, beans etc onto ex army plates along with cups of tea in big white mugs.
Very loud clashing of knives and forks from the huge amount of punters created a kind of canteen feel. You could fill up on pie and mash then wander over the street and into C&A, the most grandiose set of escalators in Manchester, taking you up onto the mens section.
Does anyone remember Cheese Alley best for sandwiches when I worked near Victoria station in early 60s. Can't remember name of arcade, good times in Railway club and other clubs around Victoria.
Does anyone remember the Snacktimes, run by a Greek gentleman called Chris? This cafe was open twenty-four hours a day and you were always guaranteed a hot sandwich or a delicious hot meal at any time of the day or night - and at very reasonable prices. This cafe used to attract some real "characters" in those days, and the night manageress was a lady called Jan. It was a haunt for teenagers after a good night on the town and was a very popular place indeed. Sadly it closed some years ago and was greatly missed. I understand that Chris went on to run a cafe called "Antonio's" on the approach to London Road, now Piccadilly, station. Whether he is still there I have no idea since I have not visited Manchester for some considerable time. Happy days!
Ho what an eye opener that place was !! as David said " there were some right characters in there" I remember a full scale battle one night, crockery being thrown, bodies all over the floor, eventually the Police turned up, had a quick look inside and relesed two dogs into the melee, they went for this 'Giant Haystacks look-alike' he had a crude tattoo of a beer barrel on his gut,well one dog took a huge bite out of it, and old Haystacks guy ends up crying like a baby,the place was cleared,the broken window boarded up & within the hour they were back in business, at the back of the cafe,through a curtain was the Restaurant !! not many people used this area,I don't think many punters knew it existed.
Empire Grill, Albert Square
Bit posh for us but once we had discovered how to pinch extra breadrolls, we were regulars.
I used to work at a Photo Printers in Albert Square about 1960, the office was on the corner of Brazennose St and Albert Square, but the Studios and Printers were down Tasle Alley on the other corner of the building, which was parallel with John Dalton St and I'm sure the Cona Coffee Bar was on the corner of Tasle Alley, you could also get access to the "Hidden Gem" church down there, can't remember the real name of the very old church surrounded by all these office buildings, I'm trying to think of the original name of the Twisted Wheel on Brazennose St, can anybody help please.
There was brilliant "chippy" in Atherton town square that used to do us Fish Chips and Curry. They used to cook in proper lard and they were the best chips around. Jo the sax lived in Leigh so we went there a lot also. Another chippy we used was near where I lived in Chorlton. It was a chinese and I used to wet myself when the owner said, "Cully Lice, two bobs please". We used to go in and give him a chorus of it and he would dutifully serve up 8 portions of "Cully Lice".
Life often revolved around food and there was a chip shop in Atherton where the band ate regularly. After the meal, the bill came on a scruffy bit of paper - often re-used. Cass soon discovered a cheaper way to eat - he just chose which side of the paper was the cheapest and paid that.
Another food memory, again around Atherton way. Some of the band were invited back to this girls place after the gig and her dad laid on a great meal for them - which was much appreciated. As they said their goodbyes, dad presented the band with a bill. Unknown to them, they had been invited back to a cafe after hours.
Tommy Johnsons, corner Sandy Lane
Upper Brook Street
Check out The Plaza on Facebook
Does anybody recall the Plaza curry house? Cheap & cheerful. The list of curries included the following, Killer, Suicide, Charlies Special, Cremation & Goodbye. The sauce was sometimes served in a pint pot!
Rumour had it that an alsatian was found in the freezer lol.
I always plumped for a Chicken biryani (suicide) & I'm sure the chef ? only had one arm, although I could be mistaken there.
Long gone & sadly missed.
I certainly do! I was living in a shared student house opposite the High Street baths round the corner - must have been about '71. We used to get a half Biryani - they were huge and we never met anyone who managed a full one. Mind you, at a whopping 9 shillings, I could never afford one.
We were regulars, almost every day, so we used to get 'extras'. The Biryani would appear with a fried egg, cabbage or some spuds plonked on top. Place was often full of drunks, flat out on the tables, which were gloss painted and had chipped enamel tops.
Great place. Great food.
Plaza Cafe, I remember it well as does my stomach on a bad day! I lived on Curzon Ave just around the corner from the Plaza and it became my second home although I never achieved anythiong hotter than a suicide. The saying used to be 'if the bottom has fallen out of your world, have a plaza and it will feel like the world is falling out of your bottom!'. Shame its gone and god rest old Charlie who took the secret of his sauce to the grave, thank god!!
I used to live across the road from the Plaza Cafe, my dad had a shop called The Cake Box on the corner of Upper Brook St and March St.
The waiter, a huge black fella was called Ali, don't know if it was his real name !!!!.
My normal order was madras steak curry with spuds carrots and cabbage on top, the steak used to be that tough it would be getting daylight by the time I had chewed my way through it.
I'm still having trouble with my guts, and its all their fault ! ! ! ! ! .
My dad was Charlie. I worked there when I was very young along with my sisters and brother. The food was different, times were good, work was hard - finishes at 6 in the morning, majority of customers great.
I first went to the Plaza with a bunch of friends from Stockport College in about 1979. We were on day release (one day a week at tech) and one of the lads on the course told us the legend of the Suicide and Goodbye.
A few of us bunked off early one particular evening and ventured to Upper Brook Street. Being Plaza curry wimps at the time there was only one soul brave enough to order a Suicide. Thing is, he said the secret not to feel the burn was to throw it down his neck massively quick. Never seen a half-byriani disappear so fast.
After this first time I went back fairly regularly with a couple of mates who lived in town. I was living outside at the time so coming into Manchester was a bit special, a big beer tour, then to Jilly's or the Sporran (trying to pull and failing miserably) and ending up at the Plaza.
We honed our Plaza resistance until on one particular night, well ethanol'd you understand, we had the Goodbye. Next day we knew about it mind, bog-roll in the freezer anyone.
The thing that got me was the unique flavour, even the hot ones. I noticed the post on here from Brian, Charlies son, thats what prompted me to get in touch.
Brian, can you please tell us your dad's recipe for the Plaza byriani sauce in all its strengths? Here's hoping.
Plaza was where everybody FELL INTO after Genevies Night Club for the hotest curry in Manchester served by the lovely Charlie. Place used to be so packed for his famous curry.
The Crime Lake Cafe, Daisy Nook
A popular hangout for teenagers in the '50's and ''60s especially the motorcycle rockers. Race the juke box was popular, riding from the top of the hill near the cafe, downt to the bottom bridge near where the fair was held and back again before the record finished. Lots of classic British bikes on display and not a japanese bike in sight. Thoes were the days. There was also a good pub there called the Crime Lake Hotel.
The Sivori Bar
Does anyone remember Sivori's Coffee Bar (The Sivori Bar) which was located facing the old town hall and the junction of Mount Road with Hyde Road, in the early sixties? Before a great night out listening to the music at Belle Vue, you could go in there and feast on pie, chips and peas with gravy, tea, bread and butter for the princely sum of half a crown - that was of course 2/6d. in "real money". With your stomach thus lined you were ready for a real buster of an evening!
I met lots of really lovely people in Sivori's and often wonder where they are now, all these years later. Many years ago I decided to visit Manchester for a journey down memory lane. I came away really wishing I hadn't: all the places I remembered in the Gorton area seem to have disappeared! Ah, well, one grows old .....!!
Just been reading David Benjamin's post on Sivs and Rozzano's. JUST FIVE minutes ago I have left my dad with Johnny Rozzano (aged 94 - both of them). John is a neighbour of my dad's. The Rozzano's weren't distant relatives of the Sivoris. They were in-laws. John's mother was a Sivori sister, hence Johnny is a son-in-law of the Sicoris.
Interesting fact - the Sivori's on Hyde Road had a regular who sat by hiself in the sixties. Ian Brady!!!
Stuart Brown a.k.a. Stuart Wilson
Hyde Road, Manchester
Rezzano's was a very small Italian snack bar on Hyde Road, Gorton, almost - but not quite - facing the main entrance to Belle Vue. If I remember correctly, going back to the early sixties, the menu was pretty basic but was good, filling and cheap, washed down with some of the most delicious coffee I have ever tasted.
I think the staple diet of teenagers before they went into Belle Vue was pie and gravy (cost 11d. in "real money") followed by either coffee (5d.) or pop of some kind. It did of course put a lining on your stomach in readiness for some pretty serious imbibing later on in the evening!
I think the Rezzano family were dim and distant relations of the Sivori ice cream family - but I am not absolutely sure of this. Happy days: a wonderful world and I mourn its passing.
Find attached photo of ‘Rezzano’s’ milk bar on Hyde Road, know the place well and it was a favourite hang out for my niece in her early teenage days before she was allowed in pubs. The pointy spire in the background above the roofs is the ‘Corona’ Cinema (became the Southern Sporting Club, Stoneground and other names).
Does anyone remember Raffo's? This coffee bar was owned by the Sivori ice cream family and was run by one of the four Sivori sisters, Rose.
However, in complete command was the formidable Mrs. Raffo, a very kind Italian lady but at the same time one who stood no nonsense whatever! She may have been very old but she really put the fear of God into any potential troublemankers.
Food was hot, plentiful and cheap - even for those days (early sixties) - and you could really put a good lining on your stomach prior to a good night at Belle Vue. Meal prices varied (full meals, that is) from half a crown to 4/6d. Old Mrs. Raffo lived to celebrate her centenary and received a telegram form the Queen, I am informed.
About four years ago, a colleague who had visited Manchester told me that Raffo's is still there, but has moved to the other side of Stockport Road. Memories indeed .......!!
Who remembers Azads - one of the first curry resturaunts in Manchester, it was on Hyde Road not far up from the Apollo at Ardwick Green if I remember correctly.
Our drummer in The Jets, Joe Abrams took me there for my first ever curry a Madras in 1957/58.
We ( the Jets, then The Fourtones) used to call in for a meal on the way home from gigs at 1.00 - 2.00 - 3.00am. Didn't they ever close?
I've loved the stuff ever since.
Chinese Lil's Cafe - The Lung Fung
This is where many local groups met up after a gig. It was the only place open late at night.
The main dish was curry and chips, curry and rice, curry and chicken with rice or chips.
It was the first chinese eatery in the area. It was in a tumbledown terrace on the road leading from Rochdale road to Royton. I remember chicken curry rice and chips was 1s 3p and that was for half a chicken.
She had a restaurant in Darwin, upstairs in an old ballroom and when I played with Johnny Masters and the Mastersounds we came to an arrangement with her to hold gigs featuring local bands on a Sunday afternoon. This realy took off after a couple of weeks to the benefit of all.
A nights' gigging for most Middleton bands was not complete without a trip to 'Lil's' Chinese takeaway - more accurately the Lung Fung. Around one o'clock in the morning most weekends there would be bands exchanging experiences from the nights' gig.
Many a weary band member would engage in a little good-natured repartee with Lil or her lovely daughter - May Lei as I recall though my spelling may not be strictly accurate!
Hands up all those band members who remember Lung Fungs Chinese chippy in Middleton. It was basically a late night cafe, in a sort of wooden hut in a back street in Miggy. No beer, just good curry and company.
All the local bands used to go there and meet up after the gigs.
I remember The Powerhouse, Tom's Rigg, Merv's Bardots, The Measles, The Perfect Circle et al. And let's not forget Tony Valente. They were all there at some point.
We walked it there one night from Chadderton, it was compulsory to attend.
Tony Gardner (The Go-Go)
Gazebo Coffee Bar, Old Hall St
Although not a band venue, it was a meeting place for lots of bands and future musos.
John Bracewell (Beatones)
Probably the first of the Indian eateries on Wilmslow Road. Great place - open late and a sit in area. Always loved a meat and potato pie and curry. Rumour was that they deep fried the steak puddings - wasn't daring enought to try one.
For Rusholme groups it was just round the corner and many is the time we hurried back from Atherton or Tyldesley or Wythenshawe (we seemed to live in those places at the time) to catch the Sabiry before it closed. Focal Points also regulars there.
In hindsight, I reckon those Beatles never had it so good!
Phoneix City Smash
Mmmm, just loved their burgers. Rusholme lads thought it very exotic to put sweetcorn relish on a burger and rap it up in silver foil!
Cross Street, Sale
I remember fondly Jons chippy on Cross Street Sale which was frequented by many groups from the west side of Cheshire and bands on their way back to Liverpool and the motorway. I recall meeting Lulu and the Luvvers one night although she probably doesn't remember me even though I did offer her a chip.
I remember Jons Chippy in Sale as I was an apprentice on Marsland Road in the late fifties and early sixties. Jon used to make a big fuss when you came to leave from the back room so we used to duck under the counter on the way out so he missed us. Also attended the Plaza 57/60 and had many a yarn with Jimmy Saville. What about Amigo's Coffe Bar?
Butterworths, Union St
Anyone remember the best chippy with dining room on Union St. Oldham.
Although not in Manchester people came from all over to sample the Fish & Chips.
It was Butterworths. It was packed when the cinemas & clubs closed. Quality was the best.
Picture on right is what became of Butterworths.
The Hogey Wagon
The one I will never.. ever forget....do you remember the 'Hogey Wagon' from about 1965 ...a caravan on a car park in Warrington...each Friday Saturday and Sunday night from about midnight to 3 in the morning was crowded with bands returning home either to or from Manchester/Liverpool.
Their speciality..'The Hogie'..was a huge sausage on a French loaf...most normal muso's could only manage half a hogey and beaker of delicious coffee they sold...Tommy Becket is the only person on the planet that easily demolished 2 complete/whole 'Hogies' on a regular basis....a feat, I would hazard, has not been surpassed to this day!
The Hogey Wagon is still there. it's now called the "Hogey Cabin" but is in the same place although the bus station has now gone and there is a nightclub called Mr Smiths. Instead of bands frequenting it, it is "drunken clubbers". Our keyboard player lived in Warrington so we were always there.
The Hogey bar was a trailer on a bomb site in the centre of Warrington that sold hot dogs about a foot long.
On the occasion I refer to, our manager John Eaton had come along for the ride and after the gig we had gone to the Hogey bar for some grub. We all got into the back of Ian's (our roadie, Ian McNab) nice clean Morris J4 bus and started munching.
Ian must have hit a bump because I spilt some red hot coffee on John, he started laughing, Ces Moseley in mid sup started laughing spurting coffee over everyone, then hot dogs started to get thrown around. Result, total chaos and one very messy bus .Sorry Ian.
I remember the Hogie Wagon well. It was started by two GIs from Burtonwood airforce base. We used to go there at all hours in the morning, there was nothing better than a large hogie with mayo and tomato sauce and onions.
What a lovely dribbely mess that tasted wonderful to a starving half drunk muso at two in the morning.
The Hoagie Wagon in Warrington was at the back of the shops on Bridge Street as I remember,we used to race around the one way system in Latchford after a night out at the venues in Northwich.
As an alternative we would go to Poplar Cafe on The A50 at Lymm for a full breakfast and play Norman Greenbaum's Spirit In The Sky on repeat on the jukebox (sad or what)
A funny thing happened one night as the band made their way to the chip shop on Princess Road, after a gig Wythenshawe way. No one wants to be last, so the band always ran across the road as fast as they could to be first in line. That night the band had a friend in the van.
As the van lurched to a halt near the chippy, someone shouted "It's the police" as they all legged it across the road. All band members arrived in the chippy safely but the friend kept on running - expecting the police to get him any second. Didn't see him again that night.