A small, independent, family-run restaurant in Ramsbottom has been dubbed one of the 'best casual dining spots in Greater Manchester' after going head-to-head against big names.

Colleen's, on Bridge Street, has come joint first with the Holcombe Tap at the This is Manchester Awards, 2023, as judges crowned both Ramsbottom venues with the Leading Restaurant, Casual, Award.

Co-owners Thomas Morgan and Ellen Cunningham have both worked in the hospitality industry since being teenagers going from part time jobs after school, to kitchen hands and bar backs.

The Bolton News: Colleens, Ramsbottom

The pair can now boast owning and running an award-winning venue.

Thomas said: “We opened Colleen's in March 2022,  our main goal was to provide the community with the neighbourhood restaurant they deserved and providing employment to a standard that we didn't receive when we first started out working in hospitality.

“We have taken the skills and knowledge from our previous employment backgrounds and aim to serve great quality food and drink but at more affordable in a more relaxed and welcoming environment.”

There is currently a team of 10 people at the restaurant, some of which have been there since the opening.

Staff at Colleen's have recently started up their own YouTube channel to show more of what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ day-to-day.

Thomas said: “Awards and accolades are something that we speak about within the team but not something that we necessarily aim to achieve.

The Bolton News: Co-owners, Ellen Cunningham and Thomas Morgan

“All we aim to do is the best that we can in every service and in turn that should naturally turn into being recognised (if we are up to that standard) as the saying goes - better than yesterday, worse than tomorrow.

Read more: Holcombe Tap wins at regional awards following 5th birthday

“But, If I am honest, we were over the moon to be shortlisted for the award category as we were aware of how many applications that This Is Manchester Awards receives every year so just to be shortlisted was exciting.

“We were not expecting to be called up as winners so it did take us by surprise!”

Having been recognised as one of the ‘best casual dining sports in Greater Manchester’ as a first-time business owner, has been a huge boost for Thomas and Ellen, especially when opening at the back end of a global pandemic.

Thomas added: “It has been a massive learning curve and going into a cost-of-living crisis been a hard slog at times but to know that what we are doing puts us among the top dining spots in Greater Manchester that have no doubt bigger budgets and staff teams.

“It does just go to show that if you are passionate and care about what you're offering that regardless of the business size you can be successful.”