The Black Friar, a well-known pub in Salford, has made the decision to hand over full control of the venue to the team who has successfully operated it for the past two years. This move has resulted in The Black Friar being one of the only independently owned pubs in Manchester. The development teams, Salboy & DOMIS, who first redeveloped the pub have awarded previous Managing Director, Neil Burke, complete ownership of the pub. Neil and his Head Chef Ben Chaplin have led The Black Friar to prosperity, employing 45 local staff and doubling their weekly covers from 700 to 1,500 a week since the pandemic began.
The Local Blackfriars development in Salford saw The Black Friar, a Grade II listed building, restored to its former glory after two decades of closure and a £1.4m renovation. Salboy and the construction company DOMIS brought in Neil as a hospitality operator to lead the pub’s fit-out and management. Neil plans to use this opportunity to further develop the brand with the idea of redeveloping other iconic and landmark pubs back to life around the north through “Bigger Boat Hospitality,” a sister company. Neil’s ambition is to expand the business’s catering and off-site events arm.
From its opening, The Black Friar attracted Chef Ben Chaplin to curate bespoke seasonal menus that rotate throughout the year. The pub has earned critical acclaim, including rave reviews from food critic Jay Rayner, who describes the food as “big, bullish, and beautiful.” Neil Burke expresses his gratitude to the support received from DOMIS and Salboy during the notoriously difficult first 12 months of business. He plans to continue expanding on what the team has already created and to “not sit still” in loving the guests.
In conclusion, The Black Friar is now one of the few independent pubs in Manchester, thanks to Neil Burke’s ownership. The Local Blackfriars development in Salford saw a Grade II listed building restored to its former glory after two decades of closure and a £1.4m renovation. Neil Burke and Head Chef Ben Chaplin led The Black Friar to prosperity by doubling their weekly covers and employing 45 local staff since the pandemic. Neil aims to expand the brand with the ambition of redeveloping other iconic and landmark pubs by establishing “Bigger Boat Hospitality,” a sister company that will grow the catering and off-site events arm.