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MCR's Latest Street Food Ding-Dong

Old-timers Guerrilla Eats pick up the pace and go weekly

Written by . Published on August 15th 2014.

MCR's Latest Street Food Ding-Dong

THESE GUYS have been doing 'street food' in Manchester since street food was still a floor kebab.

Well, since 2012.

"Some of the traders will be there for four to six weeks so we've asked them to design their own mini canteens, add character, then we'll build it for them. For every £1 they put in, we'll match it."

"Going weekly has always been the plan," says Scott Power, Guerrilla Eats organiser and one-half of street food traders Dirty Dogs. "We've just been building momentum. Now's the time to take the plunge.

"It's mostly been a monthly thing, but since the B.Eat Street lads came along with the Friday Food Fights and Up In Your Grill pop-ups, it's made us take stock of what we've been doing. To be honest, it's made us up our game."

Guerrilla Eats British street food awardsGuerrilla Eats British street food awards 2014

Guerrilla Eats are street food event organisers, set-up in late-2012 by a triumvirate of street food traders, Power (events), Fire & Salt BBQ's Mal O'Connor (finance) and other Dirty Dogger Sean Robinson (operations). "When we started out we didn't have a platform to trade at," explains Power. "So we had to create our own."

The events have seen the Guerrillas pitch-up in car parks, yards, streets, railway arches, festivals and Stockport. They've been around the block. But now they've grown into their trousers (and had babies) they're finally ready to settle down.

Guerrilla Eats is going weekly, for eleven Saturdays from 20 September to 29 November there'll be bringing together some of the North West's best out-the-back-of-the-van food traders and giving them the oppportunity to show-off, backed-up by a fully-loaded bar and celebrated local DJs.

As is par for the course with such things, the location remains a mystery. "It's now a necessary part of the marketing stategy, to keep people guessing, stir speculation," says Power. "We haven't even told the traders. It's somewhere in the M4 region."

Northern Quarter/Ancoats then.

The undisclosed location - any ideas?The undisclosed location - any ideas?

So with B.Eat Street's Friday Food Fights long gone and Up In Your Grill at Brownsfield Mill soon to close, had the Guerrillas timed the announcement to step into the street food party hole?

"It's true that Manchester isn't big enough for two weekly street food events, so we took our foot off the gas a little, did one-offs for awhile," says Power. "We've actually timed it for when all the students come back." Savvy.

Still, we've all become dab-hands at the 'street food' thing. As consumers we've had little choice but to get on board. It's become an irritating buzz-word, high-jacked by restaurants about as street as the Bullingdon Club. One such imposter is Spinningfields new Thai-gaff Thaikhun, proudly claiming on their site to bring 'authentic Thai street food from the streets of Bangkok to the streets of the UK.'

That's three 'streets'. Except they're not, they're a permanent restaurant. The Guerrillas are aware of the pretenders.

"We set ourselves apart because we only work with bonafide street traders, the ones trading from out the van or underneath gazebos, the start-ups and the indies," says Power. "We don't feel it's fair to work with established restaurants because it takes the focus off the smaller-guys, the restaurants don't need that attention."

Dirty DogsDirty Dogs - bonafide

But we've been to the street food parties/slams/raves/ding-dongs before, we've danced on the tables, swigged obscure Hawaiian beers and slipped in puddles of Jamaican jerk sauce. What's going to be Guerrilla Eats point of difference?

"For a start we've got some traders coming in that you've never tasted before cooking up some really exciting stuff." says Power.

"We're also building sets," says O'Connor. "We've got seven traders each week, a rotating cast of four traders and three semi-permanent. Some of the traders will be there for four to six weeks so we've asked them to design their own mini canteens, add character, then we'll build it for them. For every £1 they put in, we'll match it."

"Also..." chips in Power,"free entry helps."

A Guerrilla he may be, but there's no flies on this one.

Guerrilla Eats weekly kicks off on Saturday 20 September at an undiclosed M4 location (5pm-midnight)


Twitter: @Guerrilla_Eats

Fire & Salt BBQFire & Salt BBQ

Dirty DogsDirty Dogs

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10 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousAugust 15th 2014.

Speaking as a fellow event organiser this is a massively exciting time to be working in street food and markets events in Manchester. The scene feels like it's finally catching up to the sort of city we are and there are some really good things happening. Different operators choose different models, that happens in any business realm - the fact that we're all doing different things and doing them well keeps the quality high and pushes the scene forward. Well done to GE for taking up the baton and running with it - most people wouldn't have the balls but that is what's needed if we're going to keep this momentum.

AnonymousAugust 15th 2014.

Great stuff. GE usually put on a good night. Just wish they'd drop the "Guerrilla Gorilla says..." persona on Twitter. It's irritating.

Poster BoyAugust 15th 2014.

Time for JS to eat. Humble pie...?

AnonymousAugust 15th 2014.

'The undisclosed location - any ideas?' Yes, it looks very much like it's underneath The Hub on Aytoun Street. Do I win a prize Mancon?

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

The Hub postcode area is M1. The article says the location is M4 so no prize this time.

AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

Is the retail space under the (rather ugly) flats at the end of Laystall Street still empty?

AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

Although does not telling anyone really amount to a 'marketing strategy'? Are a load of people really going to turn up because they didn't know where it was going to be for a few weeks before it was announced?

AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

No restaurants please

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 20th 2014.

Fully agree, let it be an event for the street traders.

B HardmanAugust 24th 2014.

Have just seen a license application in Scott's name on Fairbarn Building, 55 Henry St in Ancoats. Sale of alcohol, recorded music, late night refreshment... Mystery solved?

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