The Manchester Food and Drink Festival (MFDF) Awards are back for 2023 with 136 nominees shortlisted across 18 award categories – however only one nominee has come from Oldham.

The Fox and Pine pub on Greaves Street was nominated for Pub or Beer Bar of the Year, making it the only spot in Oldham to be shortlisted.

This marks a change from last year, when not one Oldham location was nominated for the MFDF awards.

Oldham is home to some fantastic restaurants, venues and quirky stalls, with great service to boot, yet the borough does not appear to get the recognition it deserves.

Here are the top five places in Oldham which we believe should have at least been shortlisted for an MFDF award this year.

The Old School BBQ Bus, Alford Street, Chadderton

First one the list is The Old School BBQ Bus, which shot to fame last year after it appeared on Come Dine With Me: The Professionals.

Although Oldham’s very own “taste of Texas” only narrowly missed the top prize on the show, fellow contestants were wowed by Mr Fairley’s tender barbecued dish which he said he tends to at 4am every morning.

The Oldham Times: The Old School BBQ Bus appeared on Come Dine With Me: The Professionals last yearThe Old School BBQ Bus appeared on Come Dine With Me: The Professionals last year (Image: Channel 4)

Customers from across the North West and beyond have flocked to the restaurant’s unique Wild West-themed joint, equipped of course with a specially imported Arizona yellow bus.

Revellers can enjoy plenty of cocktails at the saloon in perfect view of the live entertainment which takes place three nights a week or come along to its ‘date steak night’ every Thursday.

Gatto Pizza

Giving authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas a run for its money has got to be Gatto Pizza owner, Daniel Preston, who actually travelled to Napoli numerous times to learn from the very best.

The avid baker then quit his office job to propel his pop-up pizza venture, which he travels around Manchester and othr parts of the north with.

The Oldham Times: Daniel Preston takes Gatto Pizza all over Manchester and beyondDaniel Preston takes Gatto Pizza all over Manchester and beyond (Image: Newsquest)

Only the best fresh ingredients are poured into these pizzas with the dough alone taking Daniel 24 hours of love and labour to create.

He has his very own stone-baked oven which can reach temperatures over 400C and cook pizzas in just over a minute.

Speaking to The Oldham Times in February last year, Daniel said he hoped Oldham “will once again become a viable alternative to Manchester for food and drink."

Blue Tiffin, Higginshaw Lane, Royton

If you’re looking for the best restaurant in the North West for curry, look no further than Blue Tiffin which won the ‘curry house Oscars’ award not once but twice, and reached the finals once again last year.

The Oldham Times: Blue Tiffin has won numerous awards at the 'curry Oscars'Blue Tiffin has won numerous awards at the 'curry Oscars' (Image: Blue Tiffin)

Blue Tiffin has established itself as the region’s top place for authentic Indian cuisine after winning Best Restaurant North West award at the British Curry Awards in 2014 and 2016.

Defiance Distillery, Woodend Mill, Oldham

Defiance Distillery based in Lees not only won an international award in 2020, but runs a successful gin, vodka and rum bar where customers can try, taste and learn all about the distillery process of their favourite tipple.

The Oldham Times: Defiance Distillery was the first UK firm to win an award at the San Francisco World Spirit Awards since 2006Defiance Distillery was the first UK firm to win an award at the San Francisco World Spirit Awards since 2006 (Image: Defiance Distillery)

The venture picked up Best in Show, Unaged White Spirit award at the San Francisco World Spirit Awards 2020, beating competition from around 3,000 entries and was the first time a UK firm won the accolade since 2006.

Grandpa Greene’s, Ward Lane, Saddleworth

Finally, there's the artisan ice cream parlour and café, Grandpa Greene's, which has one location by the canal in Diggle and opened a second one in Uppermill Park back in June.

All of its tasty treats are locally sourced and the establishment has been accredited by Visit England as well as winning awards at the Great Taste in 2017 and winning best independent café in the North West in the Cafelife Awards that same year.

The Oldham Times: Grandpa Greene's recently opened up a second location in SaddleworthGrandpa Greene's recently opened up a second location in Saddleworth (Image: Grandpa Greene's)

Popularity at the canal side café grew to new heights in 2021, so much so that Oldham Council had to use “emergency powers” to paint double yellow lines on the street to attend to the traffic problem caused by excited customers.

The speciality ice cream blends were born in the 1920s by Rick Scholes' great grandfather, Grandpa Greene, who made his own ice cream using a churn in the back yard of his corner shop in Salford.

Are there any other places in Oldham you believe deserve an honorary mention?

Let us know on Facebook or in the comments down below.