Joe Quinn and Steve King have run the “Arden Arms” for nearly fifteen years since November 1999. The first party at the pub was to celebrate the Millennium. Like the 60’s, if you remember it you weren’t there!
Joe and Steve met over 30 years ago and are life and business partners. Joe was a second engineer in the Merchant Navy and Steve worked for the local planning authority. Both were ready for a change. Joe left the Navy and after a short while found himself running an antique shop in Levenshulme’s “Golden Mile”,as it was known to Manchester’s dealers at the time. For no discernable reason he then decided to turn the shop into a restaurant, using the remaining stock to furnish the interior. “That Cafe” was born.
Because Joe can cook lovely food, he soon found that he had customers. Too many to continue cooking all the food himself, planning the menus, running the front of house and the business itself. So he invited Steve to join him and Steve was only to happy to oblige.
“That Cafe” was a resounding success and the two ran it for fifteen years, learning all the way. The restaurant became one of a new breed in Manchester, along with the likes of the “Lime Tree” and “Market” restaurants, small independently owned businesses run by young proprietors eager to make a name serving high quality English/French and Fusion style food with professional but more informal service. Joe also made sure that the burgeoning interest in vegetarian food was well catered for.
The restaurant was first featured in the Consumers Association’s “Good Food Guide” in 1985 and stayed there for thirteen years until the couple left in 1998, in need of a break and a change of direction.
Joe’s next step was to help Fred Done, the bookmaker to set up the “Lincoln” Restaurant in the centre of Manchester, one of the first generation of new Manchester restaurants, much larger, high end establishments reflecting the current boom in Manchester. After a brief period working for the John Lewis Partnership, Steve headed off to California for a sabbatical, helping an old friend, Dan Miller in his wonderful hotel and restaurant, The “Panama Hotel”, just north of San Francisco.
Keen to work together again, Joe and Steve cast around for a new business opportunity. They had noticed the growing trend for restaurants to include a separate bar in the operation to bring in more customers and thought that a bar or a pub serving good food might be the next step.
Robinsons of Stockport was chosen because of the large number of houses they have in the North West, the high quality of the cask beer and the modest set up costs in gaining a tenancy. It took a while for the right place to appear, but then “Arden Arms” became vacant. They didn’t have to be asked twice and the rest, as they say, is history.