Located in the industrial area of Sharston, South Manchester, you’ll find a rather random but hidden gem serving comforting breakfasts, brunches, lunches and hot drinks. What could be an industrial area that you regularly drive or drive through, is home to a cafe with a purpose and a menu worth turning your head and turning around to enter. Second chances are part of their philosophy, after all.
Known as The Mess Cafe, the restaurant is a charity which focuses on reducing recidivism in Manchester by giving people a chance at legal employment, while serving home-cooked food and roast coffee locally. The Mess Cafe is said to be taken from “The Mess Hall,” a space where the military eats and hangs out. It is also an abbreviation of the name of their charity, “The Message Trust”, which for 30 years has worked in schools, prisons and communities across the UK and overseas.
On the cafe menu, diners can enjoy a “full breakfast” of bacon, sausages, fried eggs, fried tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans, toast and hash browns. , as well as brunch offerings such as smashed avocado on toast and Turkish eggs. . At lunchtime, you can choose from grilled chicken gyros, falafel and feta pitta, halloumi, vegan and buttermilk chicken burgers, and a range of homemade sandwiches. The Mess Cafe also offers weekly specials, previous ones being Chicken Katsu Curry, Thai Beef Noodles, BBQ Chicken Wings, and Roasted Squash and Spinach Tortellini.
Recently ranked number one on TripAdvisor for the best place for a quick bite to eat in Manchester, The Mess Cafe offers just that. However, with those comfy leather sofas, tasty pastries, and friendly staff, you’ll be tempted to stay longer.
The location between Wythenshawe and Didsbury not only supports local young offenders and vulnerable people but also supports local businesses. The Mess Cafe has partnered with Heart & Graft Coffee Roasters in Manchester for their beans, Pilkington’s Bakers in Poynton for their freshly baked bread, local independent baker Pauline for all things sweet, Wilsher Family Butchers in Wythenshawe for their British meat , Hagg Bank Farm in Disley for their eggs, and Suki Tea for their ethically sourced and blended loose leaf teas. The Mess Cafe has even gone a step further with handmade chesterfield sofas by Springvale Leather and all of their tables, chairs and counters are handcrafted by Old Mill Antiques in Failsworth.
There’s also an amazing grocery section within the Mess Cafe, inspired by the style of general stores, where anyone in need can sign up to become a member, and you’ll get 15 groceries for just 4 £ per visit. The grocery section is not organized like a food bank, as the charity wants users of the service to have a more dignified experience.
The Mess Cafe is open 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday and is located at Harper Road, Sharston, M22 4RG.