Leading Manchester group expands with Didsbury bar acquisition

Jonathan Hawkins Mark Andrews

Leading restaurant and bar group MAD Ltd is expanding with the acquisition of the award-winning Chalk Bar and Grill in south Manchester.

It is set to take over the reins of the venue in Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, from its current owner, Chris Longmate, on March 21. Chris is selling the business to focus on Quill restaurant and bar which opened in Manchester city centre in October.

Chalk will continue to operate under its existing name “for the foreseeable future”, with some small tweaks to the food and drink menus planned. MAD Ltd’s bartenders are currently working up a new cocktail menu, which will be launched ahead of the summer.

It is part of an ongoing expansion plan for MAD Ltd which already operates Rosylee, The Fitzgerald, Walrus, Tusk and two Hula bars in Manchester.

Mark Andrew, managing director at MAD Ltd, said: “We are really excited about our latest addition to the MAD portfolio. Chalk is a great business with a loyal customer base and we’d like to thank Chris and his team for their hard work to this point.

“The business has been an absolute credit to him and all those who’ve been involved. It’s a superb example of how passion for getting things the way you want them, and right, personally surpasses any set rules of this demanding and often fiscally controlling industry.

“We don’t need to make many changes, but we’ll certainly be bringing some of our MAD flair to Didsbury with the introduction of some creative cocktails and a range of food and drink events.”

Jonathan Hawkins, operations director at MAD Ltd, added: “2016 is shaping up to be a very exciting year for the MAD group. We are currently looking at more venues in Manchester and its surrounding areas, so watch this space.”

Chris Longmate said: “The directors of Chalk Bar and Grill have decided after a very successful two years, it is time to sell the brand. After much interest from many leading operators for the site, we wanted to ensure we sold the brand to a reputable firm and as such saw MAD Ltd as the perfect fit to continue to serve our loyal customer base.

“We formed Chalk from scratch nearly two years ago and we’ve built a very successful brand, delivering quality food and drinks to the people of Didsbury.

“We’ve decided the time has now come to move on following more success with our other businesses, allowing us to continue to concentrate on building our King Street site, Quill. We would like to thank all our customers for their support over the last two years.”

Pictured: Jonathan Hawkins and Mark Andrew

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