Blackburn’s food and drink offer is growing, with an increasing and ever more diverse range of places and spaces to enjoy a great cup of coffee. Whether visiting for shopping, meeting up with friends or colleagues for an informal meeting or reading the paper, browsing the net and watching the world go by.
The latest of these, Meemaws is an innovative project in an iconic building launched by Janet and Rouhi Ismail who are original members of the Re:Source team who have taken on the Cotton Exchange project.
The name ‘Meemaws’ comes from the colloquial expression which describes the silent mouthing language that the workers used in the old cotton mills. The business operates as a separate company to the Cotton Exchange and is an opportunities for the team to pilot on a micro-level some of the ideas that it’s hoped will fill the Exchange which is an exciting £8 million renovation project in itself!
Already the team have begun working with local artists, photographers and musicians and are looking for other organisations to bring their ideas to the venue.
Janet’s background is in music, but she has had a lifelong passion for food of all nationalities. It’s been a long held dream of hers to run a café and she was inspired by the space with it’s unusual architecture and it’s situation below pavement level.
Rouhi is steeped in hospitality and catering as his parents were both chefs. He has worked in all aspects of catering which culminated in him becoming a butler for one of the UK’s top blue chip companies .His other skills in building work and heritage buildings mean that he’s perfectly placed to support the larger ambitious plans for this important corner stone building which so many people hold dear. However when it comes to the décor and colour scheme, the couple were clear that Janet had the final decision!
There are ambitious plans to get the venue licensed to provide a place for town centre workers to gather for light bites and a glass of wine after work and to develop the space to showcase local musicians.