The Government’s shutdown of our economy has not stopped redevelopment plans progressing at Bigg Market. The team at NE1 has continued the restoration of the former George Rye and Sons building at 41–43 Groat Market, on the south-west side of the market square.

The building work is nearing completion and the new tenant, Meat:Stack, who hope to be open for business 10th July, will be serving authentic American ‘smashed and steamed’ cheeseburgers and breakfasts.

Grand old architecture conservation specialists, Historic Property Restoration, restored the roof, replaced windows from modern, alien UPVC to traditional and local sliding sash timber, removed layers of paint to care for the brickwork, added gold detailing to the decorative reliefs, and installed a new shopfront.

The Bigg Market will be Meat:Stack’s first solo ‘bricks and mortar’ venture. The team have spent the last few years testing their skills at No.28, the Dog and Parrot and at their Grainger Market unit. They were among the first vendors at the inaugural Bigg Foodie Friday event last May; the open-air food markets were held monthly when the Bigg Market public realm works were first completed.

With a vintage American feel and modern touches, the mint new permanent restaurant intends to serve the finest American Style Cheeseburgers in the North East.

The building’s restoration has been funded by the owners the Rye family, with support from NE1 and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The redevelopment of the Bigg Market has been made possible by NE1’s successful bid for £1.6 million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to transform the area, with match funding from NE1 Ltd, Newcastle City Council and property owners. The Bigg Market’s rejuvenation has already welcomed new arrivals including Revolucion de Cuba, Market Shaker, Hibou Blanc and WC Newcastle with a number of private developments in the pipeline including Thomson House, White Hart Yard and the Malhotra development.

Michael Rye, fourth generation of the Rye family said:

“The building was completely empty and unoccupied only 12 months ago. With NE1’s help and funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund we’ve been able to renovate, and we are now excited to welcome Meat:Stack as our newest tenant. This is a historic moment for us. The Rye family’s association with the Bigg Market goes back to 1879 and the building has been in the family since 1922 when it was bought by my great-grandfather for his expanding shoe making and sales business, George Rye and Sons. Times have changed but the Bigg Market still holds a special place in our company’s history and it is wonderful to see the building and the Bigg Market enjoying a new resurgence.”

Alex Slack, Bigg Market Project Manager at NE1 Ltd said:

“We’re delighted to welcome Meat:Stack back to take up permanent residence in the Bigg Market, as the area continues its rejuvenation. They are an excellent addition. Of all of the projects we’ve undertaken so far this has arguably been the most rewarding. When we began discussions with the property owner back in 2017 there was a reticence to commit investment in what was essentially a vacant property. Through conversations with Meat:Stack we knew what they were looking for and were able to make the necessary introductions. In a relatively short space of the time the property has gone from vacant and in need of attention to fully occupied and beautifully restored. Throughout the process we have worked hand in hand with Michael Rye (landlord) who has been delightful to work with.”

Tom Westman, Co-Owner and Director, Meat:Stack said:
“The new restaurant on the Groat Market will play a significant role in our business development. After our success in the Grainger Market we were keen to find a permanent home, and we have worked closely with NE1 to find what we feel will be the perfect place for our growing business. We can’t wait to get started and will be inviting customers to enjoy our restaurant as soon as it is safe to do so.”

41 -43 Groat Market is the 5th property to receive a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant following Pumphreys (44-48 Cloth Market), Koh-i-Noor (26 Cloth Market), Cosyjoes (27-31 Groat Market) and the much-heralded former Gentlemen’s WC, WC Newcastle. Discussions are now ongoing with other property owners who are keen to take advantage of the financial support on offer via NE1 and the NLHF to improve their properties.

George Rye and Sons also featured heavily in the Bigg Market film commissioned by NE1. Entitled ‘A people’s history of The Bigg Market’, the film was produced by North East company, Northern Stars Production, and follows the history of the Bigg Market from the late 1800s to the present day.

For project updates or to view the Bigg Market film please visit, and join Meat:Stack’s mailing list here.

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