Macclesfield Picturedrome: the popular food hall that attracts top chefs to the Cheshire town

A popular food hall in Macclesfield is home to a host of talented chefs and a range of different cuisines. The Picturedrome, based in Chestergate, features nine independent local community kitchens and bars.

The venue opened in the city in October 2019 and the site was previously a cinema, bingo hall and offices. Today, it has become a local hub where promising and talented companies trade.

It offers a range of different dishes for customers to sample including pizza, fresh pasta dishes and a mussel bar among many other choices. If you fancy something different for your partner, family or friends, the Picturedrome is for you.

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The venue recently celebrated the selection of one of its own traders for Gordon Ramsay’s new BBC show. Jamie Savage, who runs the mussel bar called Savages Mussels, was handpicked by the celebrity chef himself.

He specializes in demonstrating the versatility of seafood, selling mussel burgers and popcorn at his bar. Its success is just the tip of the iceberg at the venue as other talented chefs serve up delicious dishes at the Picturedrome.

The Picturedrome is a food hall with nine independent kitchens and bars

Despite only being open for four months before the UK was quarantined in March 2020, the Picturedrome has become a busy venue in the center of the city. Jake Hall, general manager of the food hall, said there were people queuing outside the doors when they first opened.

He said: “For us, we opened up and we were so busy all through Christmas and it was amazing in the new venue. We had people queuing at the door and even January and February were promising though these months can be quiet in hospitality.

“But then Covid hit and the day we found out we had to close we were all sitting around the tables watching the news. We only had two customers that day.

“Before that, we were on such a high and we thought we would be back in no time. But obviously that wasn’t the case and we were a bit confused because we had just started.

“When we reopened we struggled to gain people’s trust and it only really picked up after the last lockdown.”

Jake Hall (left) and Jake Atkinson (right) at the Picturedrome bar

Jake thinks the food at the Macclesfield site is ‘unique’ as each independent trader cooks with ‘passion’. He said: “What we try to do is educate people about the food we make here. It all depends on the produce and that’s why it can be a bit more expensive.

“But everything is locally sourced and it’s about getting that story and the stories behind every unit here. It’s unique because of the variety of food, one person can get pizza, one can get steak and the other can get molds.

“It’s not a formal sit-down dining experience here, but you get a variety of dishes and it’s a premium market experience. There’s passion behind the food that each self-contained unit serves.”

Jamie Savage runs a mussel bar at the Picturedrome

Jake Atkinson, general manager of market operations who runs the Picturedrome, grew up in Macclesfield and says the Picturedrome has become a “local hub for communities and families”. He says it comes down to being dog-friendly and having a children’s play area on site.

He said: “The main thing we’re trying to convey is that we’re a proud local business. Coming here and starting something was special to me because this is where I grew up.

“We have managed to build a very strong team and everyone who works here is from the local area. But our main goal is to reach out to the community and make it a hub.

The Picturedrome bar

“Our main goal is to create a good atmosphere for staff and customers. Everyone here does their own thing and supports each other, they are not in competition with each other.

“We are local and enthusiastic. Everyone cracks up and we laugh here. We have a lot of families coming after school, we have a mix of people depending on the time and day.

“The main thing we try to do is remind people that this is a family hub. People can have their kids here and relax.

“The children’s area has reopened and there is a designated area where children can go. It is also a dog-friendly place.”

Matthew, who runs the Tender Cow unit at the site, also has big aspirations for the food hall and says they want it to be the ‘future beating heart’ of the town. He said: “It takes a long time to change people’s perceptions, build customer loyalty and get people to stick with it.

“But we want this place to be the future beating heart of Macclesfield, even if we’re not quite there yet. The people and business owners here all have great ties to the town.”

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