The Eccles couple who set up an Italian restaurant in their back garden

The UK’s lockdown has been difficult for everyone, but for those who were in the middle of launching a business when the pandemic hit, it’s been particularly tough. That was the case for Gaby Santos  and Mamadou Dhiam, a couple from Eccles who invested in a street food truck in March. Their plan was to travel across the UK with their business Lucky Mama’s, selling their fresh pizza and pasta at festivals this summer.

But within days of receiving their new kitchen on wheels, the event cancellations began. Stuck with a mobile kitchen and no crowds to sell to, the couple instead decided to park it in their back garden for the time being – and business is flying.

Gaby and Mamadou

Lucky Mama’s makes square Neapolitan pizzas, with dough made from scratch 48 hours in advance. There are no shortcuts.

They’ll also make fresh pasta every single day, sometimes to order while customers wait for their food.

The Eccles couple who set up an Italian restaurant in their back gardenThey make their pasta fresh to order

The Italian menu has hints of Gaby’s Spanish/Chilean heritage, with chorizo and jalapenos appearing atop some pizzas. There are nods to Jamaican jerk spice too, in seasoned chicken and prawns and spiced-up pasta sauces. Visitors to the food truck will also be able to order a range of topped sweet dough balls – flavours include caramel, Nutella, and Kinder cream.

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Gaby said that it took the neighbours a minute to wrap their heads around the new arrival to the estate.

She said: “The neighbours seem surprised. To start with they didn’t know if they could come and order from us because we’re literally parked in our garden.

The Eccles couple who set up an Italian restaurant in their back gardenMamadou is a professional chef currently on furlough

“But now people really seem to like it, and they keep coming back to order more from us. “We didn’t know many people around here, but now everyone around the estate knows us.

“It’s so cool. They’ve been really supportive.”

The Eccles couple who set up an Italian restaurant in their back gardenThe couple had planned to serve their food at festivals this summer

Gaby and Mamadou, who both work in the hotel industry, set up the business with the intention to run it alongside their full-time jobs. But with the current climate, that may all change.

Gaby continued: “We’re both furloughed from our jobs and we don’t know when we’ll go back to work, or if we will. There are a lot of redundancies. “So Lucky Mama’s is a bit like our safety net now.

It looks like it could be our main income now.”

You’ll find Lucky Mama’s on Edison Road in Eccles, directly opposite the corner with Bell Terrace.

You can see their menus on their website and follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

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