Some photos of our food development days…
Long hours in the kitchen, slaving over a hot fryer, eating shitloads of beautiful, juicy buttermilk chicken… those were damn good times…
“Open a restaurant” they said.
“It will be fun” they said.
To be fair, a lot of the past year or so has been really fun. Mainly the getting pissed with our mates talking about it bits. But a lot of it has been really hard work. Which kind of makes us even more proud that we got the doors open.
If you want to see a bit more of the journey we have been on, take a look at some of the photos we took whilst doing up the site.
And it’s not over yet…
We are two friends who love chicken, and behind us are a whole load of other friends and family who love chicken, partying, eating out and having a good time.
So we opened a restaurant. Partly because we always dreamed of doing that, and partly because we wanted somewhere we could hang.
And that’s Yard & Coop.
But a bit more about us, if you like…
After completing a degree in photography and design at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2000, Carl stayed on to study a masters degree in marketing, design and communication, which he completed in 2001.
Then he worked as the marketing and events manager at TL Limited, based in Manchester, the UK’s largest student event organisation hosting some of the biggest student events in the country. Between 1998 and 2003 Carl hosted large-scale club nights, including regular events at The Academy and other iconic Manchester clubs such as Music Box, Sankeys Soap and The Factory.
Carl also worked on events and tours all around the UK, including promoting the underground event Stepback, as well as prolific tours, such as Formation Records and Radio One.
He joined Inventive Leisure in 2004 and became head of sales and marketing growing the Revolution bars brand portfolio from 20 bars to the 55 bars it has today.
But he always wanted to do his own thing.
Carl loves cooking, always has. And drinking, mainly tequila.
You’ll find him in the kitchen probably, but if you do see him behind the bar, make sure you do a shot with him.
After graduating from the University of Huddersfield in 2003 with a degree in Marketing, Retail & Distribution, Laura began her hospitality career at the Camel Club in the town, before taking on her first role with Inventive Leisure as deputy manager of the Revolution Bar in Bradford.
Over the next six years, Laura took on management roles at Revolution bars in Hull and York, becoming one of the group’s only two senior general managers in the UK. She then joined the team at Greens Restaurant in the West Didsbury area of Manchester. In early 2012, Laura took the position of management consultant at Terrace Bar and fell hook, line and sinker for the NQ.
Laura is all about operations, making sure the whole experience at Yard & Coop is fantastic for every customer. So she’ll be front of house, rushing about (no, not like a headless chicken…) or wining down at the bar. Come and say hi.
These are some of the tunes that we’ve been playing while frying up our chicken. Plug your ears in and groove…
Brick House – The Commodores
It’s a disco classic that epitomises Commodores funk about a woman with a fine body (built like “a brick shithouse”. That’s is a good thing, in case you weren’t sure).
The story goes that William King, the group’s guitar/ trumpet player was sent home to write a new song. He fell asleep on the couch and woke up with a notepad of words on his chest. Fortunately for him his wife Shirley Hanna-King was also a songwriter and she did it for him. Going to see if the same technique works for the rest of this blog…
Low Rider – War
War were a funk band from Long Beach, California who fuse rock, funk, jazz, latin, rhythm and blues. All the good stuff, basically. It’s got a driving bass line and an awesome sax solo that made it a proper anthem back in the day. Even though it’s good to listen to while frying chicken, we reckon it would sound even better cruising through downtown LA.
Master Blaster (Jammin’) – Stevie Wonder
Needs no introduction.
Surviving The Times – Nas
This tune is Nas’ autobiographical account of around the time he signed for Columbia. “I bought my first mic, I wrote my first rhyme, I was about nine… I wonder could they tell, how did they know. Sixteen years later, here I go”. Eight studio albums, two labels and a whole load of beef later, Nas’ music definitely survives the times.
Southern Fried Chicken Pt 1 & 2 – Bill Thomas and The Fendells
Two main reasons to like this tune. The chicken (obvs) and Thomas going “awight, awight, awight” over the top of it. What a lad.
This Must Be The Place – Talking Heads
Byrne said he was going to steer away from love songs. He said the subject was “kinda big’. But he was happy with this one because it wasn’t corny, stupid or lame. That’s pretty much our love song checklist too.
It takes two days to prepare our buttermilk chicken before we fry it. We brine the chicken for 24 hours to make it really moist. Then we blend eleven different herbs and spices in our secret crumb* recipe to give it a peppery, spicy and crispy coating that is delicious on its own, or when combined with any of our dustings and sauces.
When we were experimenting with different ingredients and techniques to mix the perfect crumb we were aiming to create something that gives the chicken some crunch but keeps it moist. And we’ve had to eat a lot of fried chicken to get it just right.
The buttermilk gives it a luxurious texture, and you create your own chicken dish by picking your favourite sauces and sides.
We are already preparing a whole load of specials, coming soon. But why not tweet us at @yardandcoop if you have a favourite chicken dish you’d like to see on the menu?
Winner, winner chicken dinner.
*Ok, you didn’t think we were actually going to tell you how we do it, did you?
So. First blog. Bit awkward isn’t it, ‘cos we haven’t properly met or anything yet, but we should probably break the ice. So here goes…
We are two friends who really love fried chicken. We’ve eaten fried chicken all over the world, especially in Kentucky where Laura has some family. You probably have too, eaten lots of fried chicken we mean. ‘Cos it’s a damn tasty thing. But we thought that it just wasn’t getting the respect it deserved, it was getting stuck in greasy buckets and served up by some old dude with a white beard. Well we thought there was more to it than that.
So we started playing around with our own recipe for buttermilk fried chicken. It took us a while, over a year in fact, of travelling, tasting and testing out spices, marinades and crumbs. Then we got it.
And Yard & Coop was born.
We love Manchester, the Northern Quarter, going out and anywhere that lets you have a good time without any bullshit. Fun, casual dining in places where you get a proper welcome, where sharing food is just part of the party. So that’s what we want to create in our restaurant.
And we really hope you like it.