Manchester restaurateur behind Southern Eleven announces second concept

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Neighbourhood restaurant, featuring a design from Innex Design, will open in Manchester's Spinningfields development and is the second concept from first time restaurateur James Hitchen
Neighbourhood restaurant, featuring a design from Innex Design, will open in Manchester's Spinningfields development and is the second concept from first time restaurateur James Hitchen
James Hitchen, the restaurateur behind Manchester's Southern Eleven restaurant, is to open a second concept, Neighbourhood, in the city's Spinningfields development less than a year after his first project.

Neighbourhood, a 200-cover eatery inspired by New York's Meatpacking district, will open in a 4,000sq.ft site in the Avenue North retail and leisure building opposite Living Ventures' Oast House pub in the development to the west of Manchester city centre.

Hitchen told BigHospitality although he was relatively new to the hospitality industry he had always aspired to trade in more than one location. "Southern Eleven has been open for about ten months now and it has always been a plan to expand within the restaurant sector whether it be by growing Southern Eleven or if the right site comes about to develop a concept that would fit within a new site," he said.

Manhattan districts

Tower 12, from developers Allied London, forms part of the Avenue North section of the £1.5bn Spinningfields development and Neighbourhood is the first confirmed restaurant for the Avenue North section.

The 29-year-old restaurateur said travelling to New York inspired the latest venture. "We are seeing a resurgence now in London of American brands - STK, Cut, I believe The Standard is going to launch as well as Balthazar - so we thought we would try and bring a bit of that to Manchester. This will be the only restaurant and bar of its kind; certainly in Manchester and the north west."

The menu for Neighbourhood will include a range of steaks, a raw bar and different recipes representing the various Manhattan districts.

Affordable luxury

Southern Eleven, which began life as a pipe dream while Hitchen was managing four North Yorkshire stores of the German supermarket Lidl as a district manager, offers traditional southern BBQ dishes such as hickory wood smoked belly ribs served in a style Hitchen describes as 'affordable luxury'. Fries on the sides menu come with the addition of truffle salt and parmesan while the ribs are served with a paintbrush to daub on the accompanying BBQ sauce. 

Authenticity is crucial to Hitchen who said too often a lack of smokers or restaurant chains not properly tackling the concept gave BBQ food a negative reputation. The restaurateur travelled extensively across the USA researching American food and even spent two months working for a pit boss at a traditional Tennessee BBQ restaurant before he launched his venture.

Grow sites

Hitchen, who founded his business using funds from the sale of the family company Hitchen Foods to Bakkavör Group, said new restaurateurs in Manchester and cities outside London had to work harder to launch new and diverse concepts but the Spinningfields development was positive for the area. "Manchester is a great starting point for any new, fledgling company."

"We don't want to grow sites for our ego; we want to go to the right cities. We are having landlords approach us to go to Leeds and Liverpool. I suppose the big one would be London but we are not in a hurry," he added.

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1 comment

Wishes

Posted by Venkat,

Dear James,
All the Best for the success.

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