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Macknade food and drink hall at Elwick Place Ashford: Everything you need to know

The first food and drink unit at a multi-million pound leisure complex is set to open in October and here is all you need to know about it.

Macknade, which already has a food hall in Faversham, is to open a restaurant, bar and delicatessen in one of the empty units at Elwick Place, Ashford.

The family-run business plans to fill the largest retail space available at the site and is due to trade for seven days a week, as exclusively revealed by KentOnline last week.

Managing director Stefano Cuomo outside Macknade Food Hall in Faversham
Managing director Stefano Cuomo outside Macknade Food Hall in Faversham

Bosses say they have “long term” plans to trade in the town and are aiming for a 10-year lease for the 5,123 sq ft unit, which sits below the six-screen Picturehouse cinema next to the car park off Elwick Road.

About 30% of the unit will be dedicated to the sale of goods, with the remaining 70% taken up by the dining area.

Managing director Stefano Cuomo, who is in the sixth generation of the family business, says his company is committed to Ashford.

Inside the foodhall in Faversham. Picture: HopeFitzgerald.com
Inside the foodhall in Faversham. Picture: HopeFitzgerald.com

“We are not a set up and sell business - we have been at Faversham for 172 years, retailing for 40 of those,” he said.

“We are a family business that depends on our community and this is our next step to grow and scale the business sustainably and bring what we do at Macknade to a greater audience.

“We are here for the long term and hope to make Ashford very proud.”

Dishes on the menu will include burgers and steaks prepared by Macknade butchers, as well as vegetarian and vegan options.

What the new restaurant will look like
What the new restaurant will look like

Customers will also be able to try home-baked cakes and coffee, alongside deli platters and cocktails.

Bosses say the bar will stock beer, cider, wine, spirits and soft drinks, with the delicatessen featuring local, British and continental cheese.

Managers will also put on a number of events, including producer tastings, classes and live music.

“The space we have planned is flexible,” Mr Cuomo added.

Around 30% of the new venue will be dedicated to retail. Picture: James Brown Creek Photography
Around 30% of the new venue will be dedicated to retail. Picture: James Brown Creek Photography

“It means we will be able to create areas for tastings and presentations as well as more private tables for business meetings.

“In all, we will have a layout of between 100 and 120 seats, with a mixture of individual tables and shared communal tables.

“The format will be very much informal.”

Mr Cuomo says he is grateful for the support from Ashford Borough Council and Stanhope PLC, which built the site.

Around 30% of the new venue will be dedicated to retail. Picture: James Brown Creek Photography
Around 30% of the new venue will be dedicated to retail. Picture: James Brown Creek Photography

“We are working on opening hours now and part of our strategy is to help build footfall in the area,” he added.

“The aim is to get to seven days per week and to provide a morning to evening offer with customers able to enjoy breakfast and brunch through to evening supper and drink.

“This again is because of the strength of the team and layout to create a slightly different vibe for weekend evenings through to midweek mornings, but all the time we will have our inclusive Macknade approach.

“Our aim is to create a ‘favourite place’ for our customers - somewhere they enjoy being in whether for breakfast with family or meeting for evening drinks with friends.”

The Elwick Place unit which will be filled (12969736)
The Elwick Place unit which will be filled (12969736)

The Picturehouse cinema and 58-bedroom Travelodge hotel opened in December, but the eight other units previously earmarked for big-name restaurants have sat empty ever since.

Council officials say further announcements are expected shortly following the “successful completion of lengthy negotiations”.

Last week, KentOnline revealed Snap Fitness will take over unit five at the complex, with a railway museum, coffee shop and media company expected to feature among the other tenants.

Do you think Macknade is a good fit for Ashford? Email kentishexpress@thekmgroup.co.uk

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