Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Half Man Half Burger! at the Yard…Caution! Chickens!

Once a Yardie, always a Yardie

HOT’s Erica Smith re-visited The Yard (aka Britannia Enterprise Centre in Waterworks Road) and checked out the latest arrival – the new Hastings town centre branch of Half Man Half Burger!

Last week my old landlord rang me up. He never rings me. I wondered what was wrong. It turned out he was inviting me to the pre-opening party of the latest incarnation of the cafe in The Yard.“Free food and drink,” he said. My ears perked up.

When Half Man Half Burger! (HMHB!) appeared at Marine Court six years ago, I could not get excited. “A burger bar… so what?” I’d say to people. “Yes,” they’d say back to me, “But their burgers are REALLY good”. After three years of hearing how great these burgers were, I decided it was about time to see if the fast food lived up to the huge hype. The burger was so delicious that the next night I went back there with a friend. Since then, I’ve taken my time to eat through the entire menu. Everything is delicious.

Not only was I excited about getting a free HMHB! meal, but I was very curious to see how HMHB! would fit in with the other businesses in The Yard. Back in 2004, I rented the unit right next to the cafe and worked there until 2009. In those days, the cafe was very definitely a ‘caff’, and the yard was very definitely a working yard… builders, mechanics, carpenters and sign-writers. There was one artist and a guy who built double-basses in one of the buildings, but apart from them, I was probably the first whiff of gentrification.

Over the years, more graphic designers, illustrators and jewellers have moved in – let’s call us lot the ‘Arty-Farties’ – but the balance of Arty-Farties to ‘Grease-Monkeys’ (waste disposal, car wash, salvage, woodwork etc.) is still pretty much 50:50 – and the Grease-Monkeys definitely win if you are counting by square footage.

The pre-launch of HMHB! on Friday night was well-supported by the regulars at The Yard.

The ‘island’ in the centre of The Yard is home to one of the stripey sheds from Hastings Pier – and a lot of other stripey buildings.

The Yard is run by Henry and his daughter Lucy. It was Lucy who saw on the HMHB! Instagram feed that they were looking for a town centre space , so she sent them a cheeky invitation to check out The Yard cafe that had just become vacant.

When I spoke to Lucy on Friday she still couldn’t believe that her favourite burger bar had really moved in. But it doesn’t surprise me. Not only is The Yard looking the best I’ve ever seen it – complete with fancy chickens owned by Alwyn from the Car Wash – but the HMHB! attitude fits right in. This is the sweet spot where people meet and it’s not about gentrification and pricing local folk out of their work units. The Yard and HMHB! – two of my favourite things: here’s to a happy co-existence of affordable work units and affordable (at least for a once-in-a-while treat) food.

Half Man Half Burger! at The Yard is open from Wednesdays through to Sunday. It opens at 5pm on weekdays and from noon at the weekend. You can find out more on their website. The Yard is at the bottom of Waterworks Road, opposite the entrance to Morrison’s car park. Please do not drive your car into The Yard. You might run over a chicken.

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Posted 21:41 Wednesday, May 26, 2021 In: Food & Drink

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