A café in Irlam has been rated the best in Salford by visiting customers on ratings website TripAdvisor.

The Station café bar at the town’s train stop boasts an 81 per cent very good or above rating and is popular among locals and tourists alike. The café serves bistro style food like small plates and sandwiches, with afternoon teas being immensely popular with those leaving reviews online.

The second floor of The Station cafe.

“When you get nice comments back, it makes it all worthwhile,” said general manager of the café Jo.

“It means a lot because you don’t come into hospitality for the money. You’ve got to do it because you’ve got a love of what you do.”

Thanks to its popularity, The Station is able to welcome events such as weddings and birthdays, as well as festivals which they host alongside Friends of Irlam Station. These range from 1940s themed parties and Christmas events. Since the Covid outbreak in 2020, events bookings have risen by 30 or 40 per cent.

“We have lots of events and lots of functions. We have a wedding licence so people can get married here and loads of people like to have birthdays, christenings here.

“We don’t do packages here, everything is quite bespoke. We sit down with them and you become almost friends with them. We’re involved in a big day in their lives.”

The café’s home inside the Victorian style Station House laid derelict before its renovation back in 2015 and Jo says the spot is now one of great pride for the people of Irlam and Cadishead. The spot now acts as a living museum, with murals and artefacts in the building and surrounding areas to celebrate the area’s rich transport history.

Irlam Station House following rennovation

“A lot of people in Irlam and Cadishead are proud to have this location; they think of it as their own,” she said.

“We’ve got ourselves such a good reputation, people come from miles and miles around.

“The building is unique; people walk in and their chins are on the floor.”

Despite the significance of the spot, Jo believes that it isn’t down to just those stopping by on the Irlam platforms, which acts as the busiest unmanned station on the Manchester network. Instead Jo believes that the hard work and attitude of her and her team is the reason for the cafe’s success.

“The number one reason honestly will be the welcome and the staff,” she said.

“You read through the reviews, you’ll see ‘the staff are fantastic and can’t do enough for you.

“The love that goes into looking after people comes through in the food.”

Murals paying homage to the old Cheshire lines.

To book a table at The Station visit the website or drop in at Irlam train station.

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