Food & Drink

Smokin’! American-style food joint a first for Oldham town centre thanks to school pals

Two old school friends are hoping their new restaurant will get a red hot reception when they open up in Oldham’s Independent Quarter.

Ata Mubeen and Luke Rafferty are the men behind the Smoke Yard, which will soon be a fixture on Church Terrace, facing Oldham Council’s transformation of the Old Town Hall.

For the last few months the 25-year-olds, who were born five days apart at the Royal Oldham Hospital, have been renovating the property alongside a team of contractors.

They are eager to welcome diners when the restaurant opens.

With high hopes of regenerating one of Borough’s most important retail and leisure facilities, the council have backed the former St. Augustine pupils in their efforts to put the area back on the map.

Council Leader Jim McMahon said: “I’m delighted that two young Oldham-born lads are opening their first restaurant in our town centre.

“They have confidence in our plans for the Independent Quarter.”

One of the most eye-catching elements of the Smoke House development is the planned interior of the property which promises a rustic and trendy environment – a similar feel to the bars and restaurants of Manchester’s Northern Quarter and Spinningfields.

The restaurant will serve hearty American smoked meats, including platters, ribs, burgers, sandwiches, and steaks, all slow cooked, with traditional barbeque rubs in smokers.

Luke and Atta, who hope to open one of Oldham’s dining hot spots, said: “Our restaurant is just yards from what will be the new ODEON cinema.

“Our vision is to become vital part of an evening out here, offering a unique dining experience to accompany a night at the flicks.”

The boys, who visit the city centre for quirky dining experiences themselves hope that Oldham’s ever- improving city centre, will be the perfect location for their first restaurant.

Cllr McMahon said: “You only have to walk round the town centre to see we already have a series of major regeneration projects underway that will enhance our entertainment.

“We believe the town centre can become the strongest in the area.”

Ata and Luke are also willing to offer apprenticeships, both in the kitchen and front of house, supporting local jobseekers in line with the council’s Get Oldham Working Campaign.

The local council hopes that the soon-to-be restaurateurs’ idea will attract other businessmen and women to venture out of the city centre, making the Independent Quarter a destination in its own right.

However, keeping to their roots, the proud Oldhamers have promised a variety of surprises throughout their restaurant.

Sticking to their roots, the menu will be capped off by a secret flagship dish dedicated to the town they love.

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