Where? 100-102 High Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, M4 1HP
When? Mon-Thurs 17:00-22:00, Fri-Sat 12-23:00, Sun 12-22:00
What? Almost Famous
Picture this. Gooey, melted cheddar, crispy, juicy chorizo and caramelised onions balance precariously on slabs of deep-fried mozzarella and slices of spicy, meaty pepperoni. The whole ensemble is sandwiched in-between two soft brioche buns. Mumma’s sticky red sauce and spicy mustard ooze down the sides. The larger-than-life burger, stacked almost comically high, is aptly named the ‘Filthiest Show in Town’, and is just one of twelve gluttonously delightful dirty burgers served at American-diner-cum-Mancunian-hotspot, Almost Famous.
Opened in the Northern Quarter in 2012 as a hidden speakeasy with a strict ‘No photo’ policy, it’s fair to say that since then Almost Famous has taken off – with another opening in the Greater Quarter and secondary locations in Leeds and Liverpool. The brainchild of restaurateurs Beau Myers and Jon Kirkby, the venture was little more than a passion project. Gauging a gap in the market for meaty, bready goodness in the UK’s second city, the pair launched a pop-up at the Manchester Food & Drink Festival, and, after the pop-up proved popular, converted Myer’s Northern Quarter consultancy office into a permanent location.
Opening just three days a week to begin with, they soon extended to venture to full-time after overwhelmingly popular demand. And that is an understatement- thousands queued up round the block for hours at a time to get a taste of the cult burgers, boozy milkshakes and wittily named cocktails (try the Bitch Juice).
The trend may now be wearing thin- with hundreds of American diner style eateries opening up and down the country- but Myers and Kirkby were at the forefront of the craze, ringleading the thousands into the gluttony of their ‘Bacon Bacon fries’- garlic and salt seasoned potato fries smothered in bacon ketchup and lardons- and ‘Mac Balls’- crispy, gooey deep fried mac and cheese balls. The restaurants homegrown charm and Myers enthusiasm proves that Almost Famous will still be serving their trademark meat and carb combos long after the other diners die out.
You know somewhere is serious about gluttony when each burger comes with a double patty as the norm- and you are presented with an entire roll of kitchen paper on your arrival to compensate for the carnage of what you’re about to devour. But it’s glorious- glorious, gluttonous, coma-inducing indulgence.
Very few restaurants are worth queuing for- and unfortunately with a stubbornly strict no reservations policy, at Almost Famous you may have to do just that. But trust me, it’s worth every second of the wait. Check out their site for more details.
Cover photo: Anna Hardy Photography