Management team in place for 2016 Manchester opening

Phil Bennett Garry Foy El Gato Negro Manchester

The former general manager of Manchester bars Elixir Tonics & Treats and Panacea is part of a new team appointed for upcoming new restaurant El Gato Negro.

Garry Foy (pictured right) has taken on the role of beverage manager to oversee the drinks for the new venue that is set to be opened by chef patron Simon Shaw in King Street in Manchester city centre in February.

Announced in March, El Gato Negro was scheduled to launch this autumn but they wanted more time to carry out the renovation work on the Victorian three-storey building.

Simon said: “Before hoardings went up we were looking to an autumn opening but it’s been delicate work and we want to respect the integrity of the historic building, which will ultimately make ours a truly unique dining experience.

“It’s important to me that we create the very best experience for El Gato Negro’s new home in the heart of Manchester and if that means taking a few extra weeks to get it right, we’ll honour that.”

Alongside Garry’s appointment, Phil Bennett (pictured left) is joining as general manager from leading London restaurant Simpson’s-in-the-Strand where he headed operations from 2013 to April this year before going travelling in south-east Asia.

Phil said: “Manchester’s restaurant culture has changed dramatically in the last 10 years – there is so much happening right now with a real depth of quality in restaurants and bars, so it’s a great time to come back home.

“Bringing Garry into the team was a great moment and points to the quality we plan to deliver when introducing El Gato Negro to the city centre.”

Simon added: “It’s a rare opportunity to assemble a team that will work together from the very beginning and to make confident staffing decisions with the luxury of time. I’m thrilled to have both Phil and Garry on board and can’t wait for the restaurant to open.”

The restaurant is now recruiting a core team of experienced waiting staff and hospitality professionals with applications sought online at

Works at the restaurant’s new address – part of the King Street conservation area – began in July. Formerly a high street fashion retail space, development to date has seen previous fit-outs stripped back to the original Victorian walls, floors and windows. It will incorporate areas for al fresco all-season eating and drinking as well as an open finishing kitchen.

Simon formerly headed El Gato Negro in Rippondon in West Yorkshire, a Michelin Bib Gourmand tapas restaurant that he ran from 2005 until last year. Aiming to build on this success in Manchester, the restaurant was renowned for seasonally-inspired dishes reflecting a mix of modern and traditional Spanish flavours and techniques with influences from closer to home. It will also specialise in Spanish wines.

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