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Home » Taste Of Trinidad Coming To £2m Leisure Destination Sheepfolds Stables

Taste Of Trinidad Coming To £2m Leisure Destination Sheepfolds Stables

A Caribbean restaurant has been unveiled as the latest to sign up for a £2m drinking and dining destination in Sunderland.

The Calabash Tree, a Trinidadian eatery serving up food from the Caribbean Island, has joined the line up of tenants at Sheepfolds Stables, a £2m leisure regeneration project, being driven by architecture, civil and structural engineering firm Building Design Northern (BDN). The Calabash Tree was founded by chef and entrepreneur Ryan McVay, of Washington, who was born to a Trinidadian mother and English father.

His father is a classically trained chef and has been supporting his son with plans for the venue. As well as serving classic Caribbean dishes such as curries, rice and peas, jerk chicken and saltfish, gluten free and vegan food, Mr McVay is working on a Trinidadian twist on the traditional Sunday Dinner. A former fire fighter who was forced to leave through injury, Mr McVay has a street food business based in Washington, and has already run pop-up events in collaboration with Pop Recs. He is taking a permanent base in Sheepfolds, next to Hairy Biker Si King’s venue.

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He said: “I was made in England with Trinidadian parts, so it’s brilliant to be able to bring the food I grew up with to Sunderland. The plans for Sheepfolds Stables are so exciting, so becoming part of it, and joining the amazing line-up of food and drink providers, was an opportunity I simply couldn’t pass by. I’m really excited about it.

“I think Sheepfolds Stables is a long overdue investment for Sunderland and it’s brilliant to be part of it. I want to raise the bar with my food. To give people the chance to taste something different and exciting.”

Sheepfold Stables have already attracted some top names in the world of hospitality, including Si King; a Japanese fusion restaurant and Speyside Distillers who are to open a whisky and cigar lounge. Southpaw, a contemporary dance company, is also taking space in the venue.

Ryan McVay of The Calabash Tree with Ryan Doyle of BDN at the Sheepfolds Stables scheme (Image: Elliot Nichol Photo) Ryan Doyle, operations director at BDN, said: “Ryan’s passion for delivering the highest quality food that allows him to bring a taste of his family’s heritage to Sunderland means The Calabash Tree will be a brilliant addition to Sheepfolds Stables and we’re delighted he is on board. We’re hoping to create a venue that has something for everyone – a place that delivers a really high-quality offer for Sunderland.”

A new bridge will provide a pedestrian and cyclist crossing between Sheepfolds and the former Vaux Brewery site, connecting sheepfolds to Sunderland city centre. Planning permission was granted for the Stables’ transformation in May 2022, paving the way for the existing grade II listed buildings to be transformed into the destination for food, drinks, events and entertainment. BDN has been supported with its plans for the building by Sunderland City Council.

Coun Graeme Miller, leader of the council, said: “The quality and diversity of the offer at Sheepfolds Stables really is fantastic and, like everyone in Sunderland, I am looking forward to seeing it open its doors this year, creating a fantastic new venue for residents and visitors.”


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