New food halls showcasing independents on both sides of the Mersey

Duke Street Food & Drink Market and Woodside Ferry Village are due to open in days putting local independent food brands firmly in the spotlight. Tony McDonough reports

Duke Street Food & Drink Market
Directors of the Duke Street Food & Drink Market in Liverpool


Baltic Market in Liverpool’s thriving Baltic Triangle pioneered the idea of bringing multiple local independent food brands together under one roof.

Its success was followed by the opening of the Dockside Club at Mann Island, close to the city’s world famous waterfront.

And, in the next few days, two more food hubs offering delicious fare from local independents will open their doors – with the popular concept finally making it across to the other side of the River Mersey.

Duke Street Food & Drink Market opens its doors on Thursday, June 13, and it will be quickly followed on Saturday, June 15, by Woodside Ferry Village, close to the Woodside Ferry Terminal on the Wirral waterfront.

New jobs

Hospitality entrepreneurs Matthew Farrell and John Ennis have already established themselves on the Liverpool food and drink scene with their Santa Chupitos, El Bandito, Salt Dog Slims, 81ltd and Santa Maluco city centre outlets, all part of their Graffiti Spirits Group.

And they are leading the 5,000 sq ft Duke Street Food & Drink Market project, located in a refurbished 100-year-old warehouse just a few minutes’ walk away from Liverpool One. The £1m development will be home to six food businesses, a flagship restaurant, three bars and florist, creating more than 100 jobs.

Their team also includes Alexander Bennett, Joshua Marco and Simon Marco, from food and drink operator, Urban Food & Drink. Matthew Farrell said: “We want Duke Street Market to be an artisanal hub for years to come and something that the people of Liverpool can be proud of.”

Diverse offering

He added: “There’s understandably a hype surrounding London-based offerings, which is further supported by the capital’s diverse economy and demographic. This has traditionally acted against northern cities, but Liverpool now has the largest number of independents outside London and this is really mirrored in the diversity of the offering.

Duke Street Market will offer cuisine from independent brands, including Pilgrim


“When people visit and see what’s available, it is evident that there are a rapidly growing number of unique, independent concepts, which are full of character and creativity and contributing to the Northern powerhouse.”

Duke Street Market will house a 50-cover showpiece restaurant, Pilgrim, which appeared on BBC2’s ‘My Million Pound Menu’ earlier this year and earned the investment to bring their restaurant and bar concept to life.

Authentic taste

Multiple brands have also been signing up ahead of the launch of Woodside Ferry Village. Popular Liverpool restaurant brand Bacaro was the first food concession to sign up and will serve its delicious range of freshly-prepared pizzas.

Bacaro has since been followed other brands such as the award-winning Caffe Cream, which has already made a name for itself in Wirral with its amazing array of ice creams, all made by hand using traditional Italian batch production methods.

Sukhothai will be providing customers with dishes offering an authentic taste of Thailand – a wide range of street foods all created by the popular Paweenut Arthur Pugh, but known as Chef Lily.

Lily started Sukhothai in 2016 having worked in kitchens across the world including her own successful restaurant in Japan and it has built a large and loyal client base at its Oxton Road restaurant in Birkenhead.

Joining Sukhothai will be Cowfish Smokehouse, well known for its popular and authentic American-styled BBQ street foods. Its Woodside Ferry Village menu will reflect its ethos of providing well prepared, quality produce using traditional artisan Texan smoking methods.

Liverpool’s popular EastZEast restaurant is also joining Woodside Ferry Village in bringing to Wirral the traditional and authentic foods of the Punjab. EastZEast has grown and now includes restaurants in Liverpool, Manchester and Blackburn.

Woodside Ferry Village
From left, Thair Hamid, EastZEast, Sharon Stanton, Woodside Ferry Village, and Justin Dooley, Caffe Cream


Another tenant will be the Refreshment Rooms, which began life in Rock Ferry in 2012, when co-owners Ian Joyce and Alan Tuohey developed a successful Gastro Pub menu.  With all meal ingredients locally sourced wherever possible, The Refreshment Rooms will offer a range including beer-battered cod, steak and ale pie and homemade Scouse.

New experience

Sharon Stanton, interim managing director of Woodside Ferry Village, said: “When we set out on this initiative to bring a new food experience to the Birkenhead waterfront, we looked at encouraging vendor concessions to join us in offering a wide range of cuisines which would provide a mix of national and international tastes.

“With Bacaro Pizza, Cowfish Smokehouse, Sukhothai, Caffe Cream, EastZEast and The Refreshment Rooms on board, the diverse food dishes they will be serving will make Woodside not only a place to visit but also bring new life to this fantastic building and the surrounding areas.”

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