Located within the south Manchester industrial area of Sharston, you’ll find a rather random yet hidden gem serving comforting breakfasts, brunches, lunches and hot drinks. What might be an industrial area that you simply drive or walk past on the regular, is home to The Mess Cafe with a purpose and a menu that’s worthy of turning some heads and turning right back around to enter. Second chances are part of their ethos, after all.
The dining spot is a charitable organisation that focuses on reducing re-offending in Manchester by giving people a chance to gain lawful employment, all while serving up home-cooked food and locally roasted coffee. The Mess Cafe is said to be taken from ‘The Mess Hall’, a space where the military eat and hang out. It’s also an abbreviation of their charity’s name, ‘The Message Trust‘, which for 30 years has been working in schools, prisons and communities across the UK and internationally.
On the cafe’s menu, diners can tuck into a ‘Full Mess Breakfast’ consisting of bacon, sausage, fried egg, fried tomato, mushroom, baked beans, toast and hash brown as well as brunch offerings such as smashed avocado on toast and Turkish eggs. For lunch, you can choose from the likes of grilled chicken gyros, falafel and feta pitta, halloumi, vegan and buttermilk chicken burgers, plus a range of sandwiches made in-house. The Mess Cafe also has weekly specials with previous ones being chicken katsu curry, Thai beef noodles, BBQ chicken wings and roasted squash and spinach tortellini.
Recently ranked number one on TripAdvisor when it comes to the best place for a quick bite in Manchester, The Mess Cafe provides exactly that. However, with those comfy leather sofas, tasty baked goods and friendly staff, you’ll be tempted to stay for longer.
The spot situated between Wythenshawe and Didsbury not only supports local young offenders and vulnerable people but also supports local businesses too. The Mess Cafe has partnered with the likes of Heart & Graft Coffee Roasters in Manchester for their beans, Pilkington’s Bakers in Poynton for their freshly baked bread, local independent baker Pauline for all things sweet, Wilsher Family Butchers in Wythenshawe for their British meat, Hagg Bank Farm in Disley for their eggs, and Suki Tea for their ethically-sourced and blended loose-leaf teas.
The Mess Cafe has even taken further steps with handmade chesterfield sofas by Springvale Leather and all of their tables, chairs and counter are hand made by Old Mill Antiques in Failsworth.
There’s also an amazing grocery section within The Mess Cafe, taking style inspiration from General Stores, where anyone in need can sign up to become a member, and you’ll receive 15 grocery items for just £4 a visit. The grocery section isn’t set up like a food bank, as the charity wants service users to have a more dignified experience.
The Mess Cafe is open 8am-4pm, Monday to Friday and can be found at Harper Road, Sharston, M22 4RG.