BBQ fans won’t have to wait until summer to get their fill of the grill, with the arrival of Greater Manchester’s first outdoor BBQ restaurant.

Looking more like a Texan food festival than a restaurant, The Old School BBQ Ranch opens later this month in Hollinwood, Oldham.

A heated circus-style tent covers hay bales, tables made from reclaimed wood, and shipping containers converted into a live music stage and bar.

But the heart of the BBQ hub is the bright yellow American bus, converted in to a mobile kitchen, which owner Mark Fairley used to start up his business, selling American inspired fast food at events and festivals across Greater Manchester.

Mark Fairley outside the Old School BBQ Bus

In 2016 Mark found a semi-permament spot trading from a car park in Failsworth, but it got to a point where his business outgrew the space.

“We had queues out of the car park, – 30 to 40 people waiting – so we knew the demand was there.”

“We needed our own little thing,” he adds.

The new site on the corner of Alford Street might be Mark’s own, but it’s certainly not little. Corrugated iron – covered in bright spray-painted murals – surrounds the huge site, protecting the outdoor area from Manchester’s elements. Inside the marquee, there’s a play area surrounded by hay bales where children can go wild, next to a large outdoor seating area.


Next to the iconic bus is an outdoor pit area, filled with an impressive range of smokers, where Mark can prepare dishes such as 16hr smoked pulled pork, and 6hr smoked Texas style belly ribs.

As well as the usual beers, soft drinks and spirits, the bar is stocked with bourbon whiskey and some potent South Carolina Palmetto Moonshire.


“We’re bringing the wild west to the North West,” Mark says proudly. “We’re completely different to anything else. This is the UK’s first outdoor purpose-built BBQ streetfood venue.”


He’s hoping to give back to those who helped set up his business by reinvesting in local charities, and inviting community groups to use the large patch of land he’s aquired.

Plans so far include growing food for local food banks, hosting charity events and inviting buskers to play on the big stage.

Mark adds: “More containers could be added to help up and coming local businesses too, we’ll help them every step of the way – they can come and have a ready made business. It’d be interesting to have a Hollinwood market!


Hollinwood holds special significance for Mark, who lives locally and has loyal customers in the area who supported him from the start.

He adds: “Since the Roxy Cinema closed there’s been nothing round here at all.”

“Now alongside the redevelopment, we’re one of the first ones to renovate the area.”

Business partners Gordon Pearce and Mark Fairley

His business partner, investor, and friend Gordon Pearce was one of the first people to see a bright future in the bus.

“I was walking across the car park one day and I just saw the bus – and I could see how hard Mark works. It’s just unvelievable.

“It’s more about Mark than anything– he sells himself short. He’s basically built all of this with his bare hands.”

The Old School BBQ Ranch will launch on Saturday, Janaury 27, and will be open from 12pm to 11pm, Wednesday to Sunday. Visit facebook.com/Theoldschoolbbqbus for more information.



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