Sunderland’s hotly anticipated Sheepfolds Stables has announced an exotic new addition to its line-up of tenants.
The Calabash Tree, a Trinidadian eatery serving up tasty morsels from the Caribbean Island, is the latest business to add its flavoursome offering to the destination-venue.
Founded by chef and entrepreneur Ryan McVay, The Calabash Tree will deliver an exciting choice of dishes, inspired by the traditional taste of Trinidad, a colourful new addition to the Riverside development.
Ryan, 44, who lives in Washington, was born to a Trinidadian mother and English father. His dad is a classically trained chef and has been supporting Ryan with plans for the venue, which will deliver new flavours to the riverside leisure hub.
Ryan said: “I was made in England with Trinidadian parts, so it’s brilliant to be able to bring the food I grew up with to Sunderland.
“The plans for Sheepfolds Stables are so exciting, so becoming part of it, and joining the amazing line-up of food and drink providers, was an opportunity I simply couldn’t pass by. I’m really excited about it.”
The venue will serve classic Caribbean dishes such as curries, rice and peas, jerk chicken and saltfish, and Ryan is even working on a Trinidadian twist on the traditional Sunday Dinner. There will be plenty of vegan and gluten free options on offer too.
Ryan, a former fire fighter who was forced to leave through injury, has a street food business based in Washington, and has already run pop-up events in collaboration with Pop Recs. He is taking a permanent base in Sheepfolds, with his eatery based next door to Hairy Biker Si King’s venue.
“Ryan’s passion for delivering the highest quality food that allows him to bring a taste of his family’s heritage to Sunderland means The Calabash Tree will be a brilliant addition to Sheepfolds Stables and we’re delighted he is on board.”
“I think Sheepfolds Stables is a long overdue investment for Sunderland and it’s brilliant to be part of it. I want to raise the bar with my food. To give people the chance to taste something different and exciting.”
The Calabash Tree is the latest in a long line of businesses signed up to trade from Sheepfold Stables. The development – being delivered by Sunderland-based architectural and engineering practice Building Design Northern (BDN), has already attracted some top names in the world of hospitality, including Hairy Biker, Si King; a Japanese fusion restaurant and Speyside Distillers who are to open a whisky and cigar lounge. Southpaw, a contemporary dance company, is also taking space in the venue.
Ryan Doyle, Operations Director at BDN, said: “Ryan’s passion for delivering the highest quality food that allows him to bring a taste of his family’s heritage to Sunderland means The Calabash Tree will be a brilliant addition to Sheepfolds Stables and we’re delighted he is on board.
“We’re hoping to create a venue that has something for everyone – a place that delivers a really high-quality offer for Sunderland.”
A new Smartbridge that will provide a pedestrian and cyclist crossing between Sheepfolds and the former Vaux Brewery site will connect sheepfolds to Sunderland city centre. Planning permission was granted for the Stables’ transformation in May 2022, paving the way for the existing grade II listed buildings to be transformed into a new, creative destination, for food, drinks, events and entertainment. BDN has been supported with its plans for the building by Sunderland City Council, who have led the charge to regenerate the entire Riverside Sunderland area.
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of the council, said: “The quality and diversity of the offer at Sheepfolds Stables really is fantastic and, like everyone in Sunderland, I am looking forward to seeing it open its doors this year, creating a fantastic new venue for residents and visitors.”
For more on BDN’s Sheepfolds Stables development, go to www.bdnltd.com or follow Sheepfolds Stables on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.