Award-winning vegan restaurant The Allotment opens its doors in Manchester this weekend.

And for the man who persuaded chef Matthew Nutter to move from Stockport to the city centre with his acclaimed vegan menu, it’s an emotional moment.

For hotel and bar entrepreneur Anthony Sheridan had a very personal motivation to bring Matthew – and The Allotment – to Manchester.

Chef Matthew Nutter

In December 2016, Anthony’s 10-year-old son, Anthony Jnr, was diagnosed with the life-long chronic bowel condition Crohn’s disease after months of ill health.  After researching the disease, and treatments, Anthony read that a plant-based diet could help manage it – and decided he would go vegan too.

He found he was “bouncing with energy” after adapting to a vegan lifestyle.

But the Sheridans struggled to find ways to make a plant-based diet fully varied at home in Failsworth.  So entrepreneur Anthony, who owns pubs, hotels and bars across Manchester, decided to invest in his own vegan restaurant.

It led him to Matthew’s Allotment restaurant in Stockport, and he was so impressed with the totally plant-based taster menus that he knew immediately he had to persuade him to come to Manchester.

Anthony says: “After eating at the Allotment I went home to my missus Gina and said ‘We’ve got to buy this restaurant I don’t even care if it doesn’t make any money, I want this guy to make us food morning, noon and night for our family. We’ll all have plant-based food. We’ll all lose weight, we’ll all have healthy lives.'”

Self-made millionaire Anthony added: “I just felt what’s the point of having all this luxury. I’ve got a Ferrari, I’ve got a big house, but what is all that with ill health?

“Give me the underpants on my backside and a healthy body rather than any other car or house, that’s the truth.

Matthew and Anthony

“Don’t get me wrong, I want to be successful, I want to make money but that gets all put on hold the minute they say to me my son is poorly.

“I might be wrong, but if I try something, at least I can rest my head at night and think I’ve given it a go.”

So dad-of-three Anthony, 34, sent Matthew a heartfelt email explaining his family’s situation, and how he would love to go into business with him at a premises he’d secured on Lloyd Street in Manchester.  To his astonishment, Matthew emailed straight back to say how touched he was by Anthony’s email and agreed to meet to discuss the plan.

For chef Matthew, who has won huge acclaim for his cuisine, it has become an opportunity for he and wife Siobhan to take their restaurant to the next level.

“The new Allotment is to be the fourth version of what myself and Siobhan started in 2015,” said Matthew.

“This is going to be what we always dreamed of, the reason we worked so hard. Anthony hasn’t just given us the opportunity to open a new restaurant, he’s given me personally the opportunity to develop as a person and a chef.”

The restaurant, formerly the Buca di Pizza site on Lloyd Street, was unveiled after a £100,000 refurbishment at a press launch on Thursday – coincidentally, World Vegan Day.

Anthony said: “My son is my inspiration for doing this business, and I’ve told him that if it does well, this will be his business in the future.

“He is my inspiration, and it’s all for him. I’m not going to profit on an adversity in my life, so if all goes well this will be his business and the profits of this business when he’s older.”

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Journalist Dianne has been working and partying around Manchester for the best part of 20 years covering all things showbiz, food, drink, arts, culture and events. Loves a natter, laughs loudly, sings karaoke badly.

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