The Manchester casual dining scene is hotting up by the month, with the latest arrival being young, ambitious entrepreneur Jordan Gallimore opening gourmet burger joint Filthy Cow on Tib Lane in February. Produce Business UK finds out that’s not all she has in store
At only 23 years old, Jordan Gallimore confesses she has to work extra hard to be taken seriously. But, with a passion for good, accessible and affordable food, a head for business and front of house and catering experience behind her, it’s going to take a lot more than indifference to hold this woman back.
Fed up with London “milking all the limelight” and first aiming her gourmet burgers at thriving Manchester, Gallimore has big plans. Not stopping at one restaurant, she’s determined to open a chain of Filthy Cows throughout the north of England.
“What will be most important for the first year is filling the restaurant with repeat customers, who ultimately love the food and enjoy the experience,” explains the woman behind Filthy Cow, which opened its doors in Manchester on 28 February.
“They will hopefully get involved and become part of the shaping of Filthy Cow to ensure the brand not only meets, but exceeds expectations. Once this is cemented, I will look to take Filthy to its second site.”
Gallimore spent 10 months with “the most fantastic and inspiring” development chef, carefully picking every single ingredient and perfecting what they do with it, from slicing the gherkins to pressing the beef.
“Being absolutely in love with your product is so important – passion makes it infectious,” says Gallimore, who first developed a love for burgers in the US and has been researching everything burger for the past 14 months.
The press has been quick to label Gallimore a chef, but, in fact, she’s not. She’s simply done some work experience in the kitchens of Manchester’s Sam’s Chophouse, because as she says, it’s all about learning from the best.
“Up until recently, all my experience has been working in front of house roles,” she explains. “I have worked in numerous restaurants around the country, learning from existing companies. I learnt so much about the inner workings of a kitchen, where everything is made from scratch.”
Filthy Cow will launch with four burgers: Filthy Classic, Filthy Cheese, Filthy Beast and Filthy Halloumi Sarnie, served with ‘skin on’ French Fries, Onion Rings and Slaw, as well as a daily Filthy Cow dessert and choice of the local Ginger’s Comfort Emporium ice cream.
The local sourcing of both food and drink is a large part of Filthy Cow, as Gallimore believes this is the key to delivering consistently high-quality food. Consequently, the menu could be considered smaller than the average burger restaurant, with fresh ingredients coming in daily to make the burgers, fries and that all-important ‘slaw’ from scratch.
“The use of local producers is very important to us, which is why as much of our produce as possible has been sourced from suppliers based in and around the surrounding area,” says Gallimore, who tries to remain flexible and sources everything, including fruit and vegetables, both directly and from suppliers, depending on the product.
“This includes craft beer from The Runaway Brewery in the Northern Quarter and wine from Hanging Ditch wine merchants in Manchester. We hope the ingredients that we typically have to source fruit and vegetable-wise won’t be too challenging, as our menu is quite succinct.”
It’s hard setting up a restaurant anywhere, but as the UK’s second-largest developing city, Manchester can be tough and expensive. Gallimore boxed clever by setting her sights on 10 Tib Lane, which is the site of the former risqué Lounge 10 – where Wayne Rooney and other celebrities enjoyed the restaurant-meets-Moulin Rouge ambience.
“The location has a notorious history, so Filthy Cow saw this as an opportunity to reinvent a renowned city haunt,” says Gallimore, who feels that knowing Manchester “like the back of her hand” will be an advantage to the business.
“It was really challenging to find a location for the right price, but luckily I am surrounded by people that believe in the brand and understand my vision, we have a fantastic team. We were also eager to contribute to the regeneration of what is becoming a burgeoning area for food and drink and feel strongly that one less empty building can only be a good thing for the city.”
Gallimore says it’s been a lifelong ambition to open a restaurant. “Growing up, I spent most of my weekends in Manchester, but since then have discovered a wealth of innovative and creative culinary concepts on offer around the rest of the country,” she explains. “My dream is therefore to bring a taste of that finesse and creativity home to my favourite city.”
Already, she is making her dream become a reality. The style of Filthy Cow has its tongue firmly stuck in cheek, with a moving light bulb outline of a cow opening its legs to reveal udders from behind being just a taster of the décor. Much is made of the ‘filthy’ reference too, with stripped back floorboards, exposed brickwork and graffiti art all amalgamating to become a “farmyard industrial crossed with Soho-neon”.
Reception from local press has been prickly and a newcomer confidence that puts out bold statements, such as aiming to “set a benchmark for memorable dining in Manchester” fallen on sceptical ears.
But Gallimore doesn’t mind taking the bull by the horns to prove people wrong – in fact she relishes it.
“I really want to bring something out of the ordinary to the Manchester dining scene,” she says. “Filthy Cow is different in all manner of ways. It’s going to have a novel and stimulating ambience, an emphasis on simple pared-back quality food, witty branding, fuss-free and unequalled service and memorable interior design.”
With its mainstream casual dining concept, combined with simple, good local food, cheeky philosophy, sharp business sense and cow calling cards in the toilets, Filthy Cow does seem to be achieving Gallimore’s dream of creating something “a little out of the ordinary”.
One way or another, this woman’s appetite for success isn’t going to be easily quenched. “My hope is that this is a brand Manchester will take to its heart,” she says. And so say all of us.