Jennie McAlpine is probably best known for being the actress who plays Fiz in Coronation Street but she’s also the co-owner of Annies, the popular tearoom and comfort-food diner off St Ann’s Square. She’s currently on maternity leave from the Street so we popped in for a quick cuppa and a chat.
“I’m a sucker for Christmas.
I enjoy the winter weather.”
Annies opened in December 2012. Have you any plans to celebrate its second birthday?
We usually celebrate Annies birthday and Christmas at the time. This year we’ll have even more to celebrate.
Annies has been described as the Rovers Return meets The Ivy. Is that a fair description?
It’s a flattering description. It was intended to be a cosy, comfortable place serving good, well-prepared food where people could feel relaxed-a home from home-and it’s as close to what we intended as it could be. There’s nothing like Annies in Manchester.
How much input do you have into Annies?
Input or interference?! Quite a lot-I’m very hands on. I’m thrilled it’s turned out exactly as we intended. Chris is the brains behind the business and I’m the beauty! We get a lot of regular customers- many of them become friends and have even brought presents for the baby.
How does the hotpot at Annies compare to Betty’s hotpot?
Our hotpot is second best in Manchester-after Betty’s, of course!
What’s the most popular dish at Annies?
Probably the hotpot! The puddings are traditional and very popular too-jam roly poly and spotted dick. They’re what your nanna would make if she was a good cook!
Is there anything special on the menu at Annies for Christmas?
We’ll be serving very traditional Christmas food-turkey and stuffing with all the trimmings, mince pies, mulled wine. People just don’t seem to get tired of it.
Are you looking forward to Christmas?
I’m a sucker for Christmas. I enjoy the winter weather. I like wrapping up warm in my scarf and boots. I love the Christmas markets and the way Manchester has become a Christmas shopping destination. I used to love the inflatable Santa in Albert Square but like most people I never saw it fully inflated because it used to burst after three days.
Have you done your Xmas shopping?
I love giving presents at Christmas but this year I won’t have time. I’m still looking forward to receiving mine though!
Which are your favourite places for Christmas shopping?
I’m a big fan of the Arndale market and the Northern Quarter for independent retailers. That’s why I like being in St Ann’s Square with lots of other independent retailers.
You’re due to give birth very soon. Do you have any cravings?
How did you manage to hide your bump on Coronation Street?
With lots of handbags and chairs which got bigger and bigger as I got bigger and bigger.
How will Fiz be spending Xmas? Taking it easy after carrying all those big bags?
I can’t give much away. Cilla’s back but I don’t think Fiz will be around much this Christmas.
Who’s the life and soul of the Coronation St Christmas party?
All the boys. They’re not badly behaved but I won’t mention any names!
Annies is a great place to take the weight off your feet and enjoy a brew or bite to eat. They also sell their own produce including jams, pickles, sweets, chutney, marmalade and biscuits which make ideal Christmas presents or stocking fillers and can be purchased from Annies, Castlefield Market and online. Annies are also taking bookings for Christmas parties.
Annies Restaurant & Tea Shop
5 Old Bank Street
0161 839 4423