Wanstead High Street is bouncing back after ‘difficult’ times with new butchers, restaurant and greengrocers
PUBLISHED: 11:18 10 August 2016 | UPDATED: 11:18 10 August 2016
“If you asked me a month ago my answer would have been different,” said fishmonger Kevin Murphy, when I quizzed him about the state of Wanstead High Street.
“When A.G. Dennis the butchers closed down [in January] and the greengrocers also shut, things were quite difficult, but now I’m cautiously optimistic.”
While most high streets across the borough have become accustomed to closure signs appearing regularly, Wanstead has started to buck the trend.
After residents’ requests, upmarket butchers the Ginger Pig replaced the family run meat merchants, and Kevin explained the refurbished grocery shop is also set to reopen with new owners.
Kevin, 54, of Wanstead Fish, added: “The Ginger Pig is a welcome addition and I’ve noticed more people coming in already.”
The new butchers opened on July 29, and there were queues of residents outside.
You cannot miss it, with huge racks of beef hanging in the window above piles of sausages and bacon.
Manager Liam Moore said: “It’s been a really positive opening, loads of people came out and we’ve been busy since day one.”
The 31-year-old, who originally hails from Ireland, worked in the Barnes and Borough Market branches before moving to Wanstead two months ago.
“I love it here, everyone is so friendly and you can get everything you want from the High Street.”
The Ginger Pig sells sausage rolls and cold meats, as well as Liam’s favourite cuts of beef and onglet steaks which arrive daily from a north Yorkshire farm, and it has a different roast on every day.
Liam explained: “We know all the farmers on a first name basis and we get to know exactly how things are done. It’s a real community butchers.”
Down the other end of the High Street in Station Approach, next to Snaresbrook Tube station, Italian restaurant and deli Bombetta London has just opened.
It uses rare Italian meats and cheeses sourced by co-owner Ben Milne from his other food supply business.
Ben, 39, from Buckhurst Hill, said he had considered opening in Woodford Green and South Woodford but chose Wanstead due to the quality of the High Street.
“It’s the only one that has its own smokery, to be able to get high quality fish and seafood just down the road [from Kevin’s shop] is just fantastic.”
Darrell Toakley chairman of the Wanstead Business Partnership puts the attraction down to the community atmosphere.
He told the Recorder: “It’s a friendly High Street, when you walk down it you’re bound to bump into someone and say hello.
“When rumours of the Ginger Pig started loads of residents emailed them asking them to open which forced them to take another look.”
But are these businesses pricing out certain residents?
Darrell said: “Some people have mentioned the price, but if you want quality you’re going to have to pay for quality.
“Overall the feedback has been really good, now to see what the greengrocers will look like when it opens.”
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