A guide to Teesside’s most famous dish the parmo

Food and Drink

Its a question many Teessiders may wonder where does our traditional Teesside dish come from where did it start what’s the story behind the famous parmo ,Teesside’s favourite takeaway ?

As it’s local history month it only seems right to look at the history and origin of Teesside’s most famous food dish the parmo , find out more about the story of the Parmo.

The Origins of the Parmo

The history of the parmo starts not in Teesside but in Italy with the Parmigiana, a shallow fried filling coated in cheese and tomato, then baked in the oven. Most commonly found in southern Italy, the filling wasn’t always a meat one. the earliest recorded parmigiana was made with sliced aubergine.

Although the parmo’s birthplace has been disputed, its origins are widely attributed to post-Second World War in Middlesbrough it believed by many Teessiders to be invented by  Nicos Harris, a chef with the United States Army during the second world war . He was wounded in France, but was brought to the United Kingdom to be treated in a British hospital. Eventually, he moved to Middlesbrough and opened a restaurant, The American Grill, on Linthorpe Road, where he created parmo serving first in Middlesbrough in 1958 making the famous Teesside dish over 63 years old the dish was based on parmigiana recipe form Italy. It is believed that he based his speciality on a dish he’d tasted in his childhood in the US in the 1930s.

Dictionary meaning of the word parmo-. “English, regional (North-East). A dish consisting of a fillet of breaded chicken, pork, or other meat that is fried, topped with béchamel sauce and cheese, and then grilled, typically sold as takeaway food.”, mainly for anyone who not from Teesside or ever came across the dish before.

Made of a breadcrumbed and deep-fried fillet of chicken or, less usually, pork, topped with béchamel sauce (béch, to connoisseurs) and cheese.

In recent years the parmo has spread further than the land of the Teesside to become a symbol of the area Teesside and massive part of Teesside culture , the parmo has featured on TV shows such master chefs and Middlesbroughs Steph Mcgovern has spoken has chatted about the parmo on BBC breakfast , the dish was also voted in Britain’s top 20 best takeaways often today Parmo are first thing people think of when they think of Teesside, the parmo is in the blood of most who live in Teesside.

Article by Chloe Tempestoso

Project The Sweet Apron

Food and Drink

Would you like to introduce yourself?

Hi, I am Arwa a mum to 2 year old Isaac. I am an accountant, currently on a career break and a professional personal trainer with a passion for fitness. However, my love lies in making (and eating ) desserts.

What’s the story behind The Sweet Apron ?

Setting up The Sweet Apron has been a dream of mine since my childhood but it is something I never thought I would have the opportunity to do. Lockdown has brought me that opportunity and for that I am grateful. My mother’s amazing bakes have been the biggest source of my inspiration growing up. I used to love reading the Be-Ro recipe book and food technology was my favourite subject. Seeing the smiles on my friends and families faces when enjoying my bakes is priceless. It is important to me that my business makes a positive impact, and therefore 10% of profits are donated to charity. July and August’s chosen charity is Impact Lebanon, I am hoping to have my customers help me choose the charities.

My favourite item in the kitchen is my Apron which I got from a trip to Rome, once I put my apron on I am in my happy place and ready to make something yummy. Homemade with love is the slogan because that’s what exactly what our products are.

Can you tell us abit about your products ?

My products are currently inspired by my family favourites however we will be introducing new products soon!
Baklava is a luxurious, sweet dessert made with layers of flaky pastry with nuts in the middle soaked in a honey syrup. We currently offer traditional pistachio and almond baklava. Our new baklava flavours are Nutella and Oreo and Lotus Biscoff flavours. Vegan baklava is also available.

Basbousa is my personal favourite, it is a semolina cake drizzled with a honey syrup with almonds snuggled on top.
Baklava nests are bite-sized treats perfect for anytime of day, we currently offer Nutella with pistachio, Nutella with hazelnuts, white chocolate and raspberries and Nutella cheesecake.
Chocolate Chip cookies, the perfect chocolate chip cookie is also new to our menu and will be available from the 25th August to celebrate my birthday.

Why do you think independent businesses so important for a place like Teesside?

Small local businesses are vital to support the local economy, particularly in Teesside where there are high levels of unemployment, if we support each other we will see a difference in our community.

What’s the reaction been from pepper who bought your products?

The reaction has been amazing I am so grateful to be able to share my passion with my lovely customers and am loving the positive feedback I have hbeen receiving!

Where can people find you online to purchase your products?

Orders are welcomed through direct message on Instagram or by message on Facebook @thesweetapronUK. Perfect for special occasions, family gatherings or simply treating yourself because you deserve it.

Interview by Chloe Tempestoso

Project Baker Street Kitchen

Food and Drink

What does Teesside mean to you? 

I am from Sheffield originally and moved up to Teesside 10 years ago. I have worked in different parts of Tees Valley, Darlington, Yarm and Middlesbrough. I feel really privileged to call Teesside my home now, its such an amazing place to be, I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am without Teesside. The community here are so friendly, positive and enthusiastic. Its easy to make a connection with the area, amazing views all around and amazing places to visit.

Why do you think independent businesses are so important for an area like Teesside?

I think independent’s can play a key role in changing a town, it makes it a more interesting exciting place and visitors care more for the small independent businesses. Keeping things local can really boost the economy with more of independent businesses money staying local it’s a win win. With Teesside’s reputation on a national scale, not being great, it really gives us a chance to shine and take pride in our own area and businesses, we can be different and stand out.

What peoples reactions been to your business since you started?

Peoples responses have been fantastic. Baker Street Kitchen was already a successful established business, but since making changes, customers have been so supportive and seem to love it. The support for independent businesses is incredible. It is like the whole team is part of a community with our customers, who we really get to know well. It is quite comforting when you stand back and appreciate it.

Whats the story behind your business ?

I have worked in the hospitality and catering industry for 16 years and even as a child I wanted my own restaurant. After opening and managing Cena for 3 years I decided with was time to take the leap and take on my own business. I saw Baker Street Kitchen advertised and I took the leap! Baker Street Kitchen was already trading as a café and I saw potential to build on what the previous owners had created and develop it further. 2 years ago I invested heavily, giving the business a full refurbishment which was really exciting to take it to the next level. It has really taken off since then and I have now taken the leap to take on a second business. I am in the process of taking on a new wedding venue, hotel & restaurant which I am hoping will be able to launch mid summer, and will be based in the Tees Valley too. Wedding enquiries welcome!

Why do you believe that Teesside gets such a bad reputation in the media?

I think the national media can always lean towards focusing on negativity.  Teesside does have some statistics that don’t necessarily stack up well to other areas of the country, and this gets the focus, on a national scale I think it’s hard to get the coverage past this. There is so many amazing things about Teesside that we need to get the focus on. Locally, there are lots and lots of advocates for Teesside, organisations, politicians, media outlets, influencers, business groups etc, all shouting about the positives of Teesside, the question is how we get that narrative though the media to change perception. Teesside is such an exciting place, with close links to the coast and countryside, and so much energy to develop the area, you only need to look at the Teesside Airport in Darlington and Boho X in Middlesborugh for examples. The Big Weekend and similar events really give us the chance to change the narrative, only Teessiders can do this with passion and tenacity.

Where can people find your business online ?

 Our website is www.bakerstreetkitchen.com, we are also quite active and engaging on social media, you can find us at www.instagram.com/bakerstreetkitchenwww.facebook.com/bakerstreetkitchen  or www.twitter.com/bakerstkitchen  We are always grateful for new followers, comments, likes, shares etc. All of which is really important for all small independent businesses. If anyone wants to get in touch, we will happily message over social media if that is a customers preferred method to contacting us.

How did you come up with the name Baker Street Kitchen ?

As an established business when I bought it, Baker Street Kitchen was already named and trading. I think the name reflects what we offer, a kitchen, is the social hub of the home for relaxing food. I like to think we are the kitchen of Middlesbrough, and by naming it after Baker Street, it links well to the logo which is styled similar to the London Underground signs, like Baker Street Station.

Whats your advice to anyone wanting to set up their own business in the Tees Valley?

Do it! Teesside is a great place to start your own business, there is a lot of support, and enthusiasm for new independent businesses to succeed. Councils, government website, Tees Valley Combined Authority will all support you, and there are so many organisations talking up Teesside that will help too. I think the most important aspect in starting your own business, is to have passion and love for whatever project you are about to embark on. Starting your own business takes a lot of hard work, time and effort, that passion you have will keep you going in the tough times. I would also say confidence, have total confidence in what you offer as this will come across to customers in your business. Be prepared to be multi-talented, you will need to be ready to play many roles covering HR, health & safety, marketing, sales, book keeping, there is lots of work to running a business behind the scenes. Make sure you know your market before you start, experience in what you are entering really helps, if not then make sure you do plenty of research. The rewards of working for yourself are amazing, it is hard but definitely worth it.

What type of products and services do you offer your customers?

We are best known for our tasty; breakfasts, brunch, lunch, light bites, cakes & coffee, with extensive good quality options. I think all our customers come to see the friendly team here too, my team certainly are a huge asset and make Baker Street Kitchen the success that it is. All our menu options are served all day everyday including breakfast! On Sundays we offer a tasty classic Sunday roast lunch, alongside the regular menu. All these options can be enjoyed in our spacious bistro our on our outdoor terrace… weather permitting! We try our best to source locally, most of our many different suppliers are not far away, our coffee is from Middleton-In-Teesdale, our cakes are from a bakery in North Yorkshire, our cleaning supplies are from Darlington, and our general food supplies are from providers based in Middlesbrough too. It’s really important to us, to ensure we support our local economy and community.

Sporadically through the year we hold special events, these can include jazz nights, gin tasting, murder mystery and themed food nights like Thai etc. We also host private events, such as engagement parties, corporate events, Christmas parties etc. All our menu items are available to take away either for collection, or by delivery through UberEats, Just Eat or Deliveroo. We also offer a delightful afternoon tea available Monday – Saturday from 230, pre-booking required. Our customers always give us positive feedback for our extensive drinks range with our own blend coffee, loose leaf teas, seasonal flavoured drinks and our new range of superfood drinks! On occasions we can also offer food for outside events which some regular guests have requested previously. If customers want to treat someone special, we also sell gift voucher which can be bought on our website or in person, we also sell bags of our coffee, our re-usable coffee cups and loose-leaf tea, which are always ideal gifts too.

How has the covid crisis effected your business? 

We closed following the government guidance. Unfortunately, due to the sort of market we serve, we haven’t been able to offer a take away only service that would have been financially viable, which has meant the full team of 18 employees have all had to be furloughed, which does place a certain amount of burden and guilt on me as an owner, I really value the team, so their well being is important to me. We were un-lucky when it came to the government grants, they offered £10000 for businesses with rate able value less than £15000, and offered £25000 to those with a rateable value between £15000 and £51000. Our rateable value is £14750, meaning, disappointingly we missed out on the bigger grant by a small margin.  This has meant taking out a further loan to sustain cashflow for wages, and also pay any residual bills that have not been able to be cancelled or deferred. However the help that has been provided by government has been hugely helpful to us all. We are all really looking forward to be back open, and are ready to get back as soon as we are allowed.

What do you think of the development of baker and Bedford street ?

The development has been a real success for Middlesbrough, it has created a hub of small independents for visitors to Middlesbrough to get off the high street and find something a little different and exciting. The Orange Pip Market which is usually held on the two roads along with Albert Road, monthly, is a really exciting event too, a kind of mini festival shouting about small businesses and encouraging people to visit Middlesbrough where they may not usually. There is a real focus from the council and other stakeholders to re-energise Middlesbrough and this is just one aspect in making it a vibrant place to visit, along with plans for Albert Road, Boho X, train station etc, its hard to not be positive about it.

Interview by Chloe Tempestoso

Project Bentley’s Coffee Shop

Food and Drink

What does Teesside mean to you?

Teesside is home. I was born here, raised here and will probably remain here. It’s a beautiful part of the world. We have so much even, though we are portrayed as having little.

The outside opinion is so wrong. We have more green open space than most. We have easy access by road and rail to the seaside. We are a stone’s throw from both the Yorkshire Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Parks and we have a wonderful river snaking its way through our region, bringing life and livelihood. I feel very lucky to live here.

Why do you think independent businesses are so important for an area like Teesside?

All businesses are good for the area. Supply chain is very important from the big boys to the little guys, large to small employers. However, independent owner-managed businesses are vitally important to the region’s economy. They are huge employers and without them we’d have a huge unemployment issue.

When we set up Bentley’s it was important to us that we sourced and used local independent businesses where we could. If you support the local economy the money stays in the local economy. I’m a massive advocate of the ‘Teesside pound’.

What’s people’s reactions been to your business since you started?

Having never run a business before, we really didn’t know how it would be but we knew there was the need for it within the Parkway Centre in Coulby Newham. We’ve been warmly received by the community and love seeing regular faces and new faces alike. The support has been great and we have been humbled by it.

What’s the story behind your business ?

Originally, the business idea wasn’t of a coffee shop but of something different – still an eatery but totally not what we’ve ended up being. It was nothing to do with me. My other half, Martin Smith, had wanted to run, and had been planning, his own food business for some time. Having worked for many years in the retail sector, he wanted to work for himself and build a business, so when the opportunity for the space in the Parkway Centre came up, he jumped on it.

However, we knew the original plan would not work, so adapted our offering to suit the space and the audience. We refitted the premises, worked on the name, brand and proposition ready for its launch. On 1st July 2019, Bentley’s was born.

Why do you believe that Teesside gets such a bad reputation in the media?

I actually have no idea. Without wanting to sound too controversial, I think it’s pure ignorance. Media has always been driven from larger conurbations and anything smaller is the poor relation. It’s like school-yard bullies really. Something is different and they don’t understand it, so they pick on it. They are ignorant to our great and generous people, our amazing talent and tenacity, our innovation and ingenuity. We built the world – we are great – they just don’t realise it!

Where can people find your business online ?

We have a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BentleysCoulby/  and you can follow us on Twitter too https://twitter.com/BentleysCoulby

How did you come up with the name Bentley’s Coffee shop ?

It wasn’t a name that we’d thought of ourselves and we had a name decided upon. I had previously worked with a fantastic brand agency, Highground in Stockton, and went to them for help with our brand. They chatted with us and we ended up coming out with a new name and logo.

What’s your advice to anyone wanting to set up their own business in the Tees Valley?

Do something that you want to and you think you’ll enjoy. That may sound an obvious thing to say but some people set out in business as just something to make money but end up not enjoying the journey. If you do something you love, then it makes the journey an easier one.

If you think you’ve found a gap, make sure there’s a market for it and do your research.

Build your business on strong foundations. Get a good accountant. Seek sound legal advice. Speak to experts and don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are many business networks across the region and industry member organisations, and they’re not all expensive or paid for – often the benefits of membership outweigh the initial outlay e.g. free insurance, free resources, discount on services etc. There’s also lots of free advice on how to start your business on the government website.

Be ready to be everything. You need to be a bookkeeper, HR manager (if you employ anyone), Health & Safety officer, marketing manager etc etc. or be ready to pay to outsource it to an expert!

What type of products and services do you offer your customers?

We serve breakfasts, lunch, light bites and savoury and sweet treats as well as delicious coffees, teas, hot chocolate and soft drinks.

We use local suppliers wherever possible so our coffee is from Rounton Coffee Roasters, who are based just down the A19 in North Yorkshire, Storm for our speciality tea and our amazing cakes are baked by T-cakes, whose owner also works for us part time, baking her wonderful scones and other lovely goods on premises.

Our new Middlesbrough Sports Village premises offers a different range of meals and healthy options too, as that menu is geared around the athletics, gym and sports visitors and also caters for the kids soft play area.

How has the covid crisis effected your business

We have had to close both coffee shops unfortunately and our team has been furloughed. We have been fortunate with one of our premises that we’ve been able to access the Local Authority grant, which has been hugely helpful. We have also benefitted from the government’s Bounce Back Loan Scheme and the Job Retention Scheme, both of which have also proved a lifeline for us whilst lockdown has continued.

We have now reopened our Parkway Centre premises to serve takeaways only and we hope to be able to reopen at Middlesbrough Sports Village in the near future.

Interview by Chloe Tempestoso

Project Salt Steel Brewing Co

Food and Drink

What does Middlesbrough mean to you?

Middlesbrough and the Teesside area holds a very special place in my heart. I am originally from a town in the North West called Northwich. Around 8 years ago I met my now wife and would drive up to Middlesbrough every other weekend. I would look forward to coming up and we made so many great memories that I decided to relocate up here less than a year later. My late granddad worked for ICI and would travel from Northwich to Teesside when he was younger, a journey I followed many years later.
Middlesbrough is where I have chosen to live, to work, to raise a family and is now home. Definitely consider myself an honorary smoggy!… and I do love a parmo. 

Whats your story behind your business?

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love craft beer. It is something I am extremely passionate about. Middlesbrough has some amazing local breweries and I think more people need to discover how grate craft beer is, and what awesome beers there are right on our doorstep.
Salt Steel started, to join the crusade and fight back against crap commercial lager. We want more people drinking great craft beer and supporting local breweries. #CraftNotCrap

Why do you think independent businesses are so important to an area like Teesside?

Teesside has a thriving business community full or incredibly passionate, talented people. I have never known an area like Teesside. People just want to help each other. There is a real sense of community and everyone just wants to support and see people do well. There’s no rivalry or resentment… With this comes opportunity, jobs etc which of course then supports the area and the local economy. People chose to support local businesses here and put back into Teesside. 

Whats peoples reactions been in the area to your Business?

So far its been great. We are still in our early stages but the support as been fantastic. Plenty of local bars, restaurants etc are supporting us and I am getting lots of messages and requests asking when we’ll be ready. I think people identify with our brand and what we’re trying to achieve, and genuinely want to see us do well. It’s really exciting!

Where can people find you online?

Our website is www.saltsteelbrewing.com and most of our social accounts are @SaltSteelBeer – we have also  recently launched a YouTube channel which can be found by searching for Salt Steel Brewing Co.

Why do you believe Teesside gets such a bad reputation in the media?

I think the media often focus on the negatives. Yes, unfortunately Teesside often tops the lists that you don’t want to be top of, and it fits in with the mantra that “its grim up north”. But in most cases, the people who write these articles have never stepped foot in the area. They’ve never walked along the beaches at Saltburn and Redcar enjoying a lemon top. They haven’t been to Roseberry Topping or Captain Cook’s Monument, and enjoyed the glorious countryside, and they never will. It’s their loss. Up the Boro! 

How did you come up with the name Salt Steel Brewing Co?

I wanted something that would combine the two towns that mean the most to me. Northwich where I am from, and Middlesbrough where I now live. Both towns have a rich industrial history which I wanted to show. Northwich is famous for its salt mines and Teesside for its steel. I felt Salt Steel Brewing Co., and its logo, would give people something relatable and to be proud of.   

Whats your advice to anyone in Teesside wanting to start there own Business?

Do it. Right now. Stop what you’re doing and do it. Sometimes it can be scary to create something and share it with the world, but in Teesside there are so many businesses and people that can support you and guide you. There is an amazing business community that will want you to succeed, and you might even have some fun along the way. 

Can you tell us a bit about the products you are selling offering customers?

We are in the final stages of developing our flagship beer. It’s a West Coast IPA and will be available really soon. It will be the first of what we hope will be many craft beers and we can’t wait to share them with the people of Teesside and beyond! 

You find Salt Steel Brewing CO online at https://www.saltsteelbrewing.com/ , Social media https://www.facebook.com/saltsteelbeer/ and Twitter-https://twitter.com/saltsteelbeer?lang=en.

Interview By Chloe Tempestoso

Project The little gin palace

Food and Drink

What does Teesside mean to me? Teesside is home to me and where I have lived my entire life. I am proud to be a Teessider and want to shout about all the fantastic local businesses and products they create. 

Why do you think independent businesses are so important for an area like Teesside? Independent businesses mean that when people buy from a small local business more money stays in the area which is even more important now as ever. For example I always try to use small independent coffee shops rather than the big well known chains. I used a local business to build my website and I get the majority of my marketing material and personalised items created locally too. I work with 3 Distillery’s who are based in Skelton, Whitby and Darlington. They are create amazing drinks and we have formed a great working relationship with each other promoting each others businesses.Whats the story behind The Little Gin Palace? I got made redundant last year after 18 years working for a bank so I decided to take this opportunity to do something completely different. I have always been a Gin drinker and used to get frustrated when I ordered a drink from a bar and asked the staff which mixer and garnish was recommended and they couldn’t really advise me. My partner and I discussed it a lot and found a Vintage Horsebox bar online, we went to see it and bought it straight away and the rest is history really. We had some events booked in for the summer and were excited to start serving people. As to be expected these events have now been cancelled so I was worried that my business would fail before it had even really started so we got our thinking caps on and decided that if we couldn’t take our bar to people we could at least take the drinks.

What’s peoples reactions to our business? Since we have started our delivery service the feedback we have received has been amazing as has the support from our friends and family, most sales initially via Facebook so people sharing posts and recommending us had been invaluable. We have now updated our website so orders can be processed there and we have been added to the buyboro website too. We sell hampers with a local Craft Gin or Rum with includes 6 mixers and we do smaller bottle options with 3 mixers. We have recently launched our first bottled Cocktail, A Negroni, in conjunction with Daisy Distillery in Skelton which is proving very successful. We can deliver these all across Teesside and can even post to other parts of the country. Something that has been really success during this period of lockdown is that I can include a personalised card with a message in if the purchase is a gift, I have written out Birthday, Anniversary, Thank you and We miss you cards. its so lovely seeing peoples reactions and the feedback we get.

Where can people find us online?  www.thelittleginpalace.co.uk, The BuyBoro website, Facebook and Instagram.

Why do you believe that Teesside gets such a bad reputation in the media? Every town and city in the country has parts which come across badly in the media but for some reason people think that this is all there is to Teesside, they don’t realise we have the the Cleveland Hills, the beach and the countryside, these are such beautiful places. I have had many orders of Cleveland Way gin because it has Roseberry Topping on the bottle and reminds people of home. The with the Endeavour Gin from Whitby, both iconic pictures and I am proud to be associated with the products and be also to help sell them.

How did I come up with the name The Little Gin Palace? When we were thinking about how we wanted the Horsebox to look I just said I wanted it to be like a little Palace, modernish but with a vintage feel – cheesy I know – then she instantly became The Little Gin Palace.Advice to people wanting to start their own business? Work with as many local businesses as possible as we all want to help each other, local Networking groups are also amazing, the support I have had has been fantastic. I have businesses I recommend people to all the time and they do the same for me so that’s just great.

Advice to people wanting to start their own business?  Work with as many local businesses as possible as we all want to help each other,  local Networking groups are also amazing, the support I have had has been fantastic.  I have businesses I recommend people to all the time and they do the same for me so that’s just great.

Interview by Chloe Tempestoso

Vine Restaurant

Food and Drink

If you are looking to enjoy the aesthetic beauty of Middlesbrough that comes with a fine dining and bar experience then you must visit Vine Restaurant. The idea of the restaurant belongs to Middlesbrough born Matthew Saul. He cordially invites you to step into the heart of Linthorpe and experience the perfect harmony of deliciousness amongst the food and thirst quenching drinks served at Vine Restaurant. 

Get what you always wanted

You can choose to have a moment of solitude by yourself, sitting in an armchair slowly sipping on a your cold fresh drink from the bar, whilst absorbing every entirety of freshness and calm of the historic atmosphere. Vine Restaurant is amongst the most unique and perfectly organized restaurants of  Middlesbrough.

Story of Origin

In the interview Mathew Saul explained the very reason for opening such an aspiring place in the Middlesbrough, he said “Middlesbrough needs diversity and change and for that to happen something out of the box was needed and Vine Restaurant is that something. We are looking forward to engage the public through live music from local artists on weekends and create different events throughout the year to showcase our wine, gin and cocktail menus.” 

He added further, “This place which is now Vine restaurant occupies a special place in my life, as soon as I laid my eyes on this place I fell in love with it. We renovated everything but still wanted to bring out the amazing original features of the building and as you can see the restaurant holds up as a special spot amongst the locals, as well customers from outside Middlesbrough. We are trying to bring a fine dining experience and for that to be achieved we introduce new food items every week to keep the menu fresh and exciting, using the best seasonal produce around keeping temptation there for the public.”

Bar & Food 

There is an impressive 21-foot long steel cocktail bar that is home to new and creatively exciting flavours regarding cocktails and other drinks as well. Vine Restaurant displays a traditional and customary connection with the town of Middlesbrough on its very building, there are special engravings, a special traditional looking design that resonates with the historical aspects of the area. 

Mathew Saul wanted to bring a special side to Restaurant, that’s why the bar has 16 craft ale taps available for all beer lovers! They will enjoy a traditional experience at Vine Restaurant given the tasting of their speciality drinks through the craft taps. Vine Restaurant has the most amazing open kitchen, award winning chefs and attentive staff. They all work seriously hard as a team to bring the best to  their dishes, drinks and experience. Also with having a lobster tank at the heart of the restaurant, produce is super fresh, sraight from the source to your table.

Bringing Diversity

Vine Restaurant is a huge supporter of local food producers and has the idea of customers enjoying natures best at its core. Also with the heartwarming music, including resident saxophonist Yussef Nimmer, who often performs on a weekend the restaurant, offers people a twist to their dining experience and this makes the whole thing look and feel like magic! 
Under the open sky at night, eating and chatting with your loved ones whilst swaying your head back and forth to the gentle music, that is the Vine Restaurant experience at it’s  finest.

Article By Chloe Tempestoso

The Fork in the Road

Food and Drink

I popped into the charity restaurant The Fork In The Road to meet its founder and driver Andy Preston.  Andy’s a local business person who like myself is hugely passionate and proud of  the town we both called our home Middlesbrough.

I wanted to find out the reason why he decided to open the restaurant what positive impact the restaurant has had on the town and people of Middlesbrough and where he sees the restaurant going in the future. Also I wanted to know what Middlesbrough means to him, where he sees our town going in the future, what he believes needs to be done to make the town a better place.  This is my interview with Andy Preston – Andy’s Middlesbrough. Project One –  

What does Middlesbrough mean to you?

To me Middlesbrough means family ,friends and history.  It also means building and places I love.  I feel a very strong emotional attachment to Middlesbrough and it’s something I’m proud of.  Sometimes I am critical of  the town and like many people I can have a love hate relationship with Middlesbrough. Middlesbrough is a truly great place and I think it can do so much better – it can really improve.  There’s so much to our town and so much that needs to be done also to make Middlesbrough a better place. 

When I was younger Newcastle was twice the size of Middlesbrough and it had three times as many shops, bars and restaurants .The best way to understand what has happened to Middlesbrough over the past 30 to 40 years is to see that Newcastle is still twice the size of Middlesbrough but now has ten times as many shops, bars and  restaurants as Middlesbrough.  So Middlesbrough has been hugely overshadowed by the progress of Newcastle and so many other places. So the town needs to workout how this has happened – we’ll have to be honest about where we are as a town in 2018 and come up with a genuinely clever strategy to improve and catch up with Newcastle and other places that have progressed so much. And we do need to be positive – It’s really good to be positive – and we need to be honest about what can be done.

Middlesbrough needs a plan for the next five to ten years and that must include measurable targets . In my life I haven’t succeeded at everything I have done , but I have had some real successes.  When I have succeeded its because  I’d  set clear goal  with a timeline in mind .

Fork in the road- for me starting this restaurant and venture was a way of doing something positive for the town I’m from – bringing a derelict building back to life and helping to change the lives of some people in negative situations. I think the restaurant stands out maybe as a bit of a beacon, maybe to inspire others and touch people lives .Lots of people  have come and eaten here and become impressed with the positive energy behind the placed and that makes me proud.   If you read our reviews on trip adviser so many people from outside the area when visiting Middlesbrough have come and eaten here, people have said they think every city should have one of these . 

What made you setup Fork in the Road- Wanting to make a little difference ,we supported  people with their lives and to grow and achieve more with their life? 

This is Andy Preston interview on what Middlesbrough means to him, and the story behind the restaurant The Fork in the Road. My meeting with Andy and discussing what Middlesbrough means to him and discussing Fork in the Road . I feel the Fork in the Road is one of many positive things currently going on in our town, the opening of the restaurant and concept behind it, will help Middlesbrough grow as a town, Hopefully inspire other local people to open a business within Middlesbrough . I believe Andy’s passion for Middlesbrough and wanting the town to grow and do well ,and his passion for the restaurant the The Fork in the Road  a non profit restaurant that he has opened to help disadvantaged people to turn their life round through giving them employment, helping them grow . Shows somebody who wants to give something back to the town they are from, and cares a lot about Middlesbrough and people of the town.  I deem that Andy’s work and passion and his loyalty to Middlesbrough makes him one the people that really makes Middlesbrough are great place to live.

Article by Chloe Tempestoso