A little Caribbean takeaway in Stockport is becoming a staple for the rich and famous.
The famous Mama Flo’s on Buxton Road, just next to Stepping Hill Hospital, frequently hosts the likes of Kyle Walker and Harry Maguire.
In fact, Walker came for takeout on Wednesday night this week, arriving to pick up two orders of curried goat cheese from Flo, with rice and peas, and a cornflake cake for the pudding.
Speaking to Manchester Evening News, Flo, better known as Florence Coke, said: ‘I asked him if he wanted a portion of steamed vegetables but he said no.
“So I said, ‘Kyle, you’re a footballer, you should really eat vegetables’. He’s so adorable. So I worked up the courage to ask him for a picture.
“He was holding one bag, and I was holding the other, and I said ‘I won’t come near because of the covid times’, but he didn’t mind at all.”
Florence, 67, was only at City the day before, taking her granddaughter who plays for the academy in training.
“He was asking everything about her, how old she was and how she was doing,” she continued.
Two other mystery footballers – Flo forgets their names – also came from Wilmslow recently, calling ahead to ask him to keep the shop open for them as it was about to close.
“The store was closed, because sometimes they don’t want to be harassed. So they came and said ‘you are footballers!’ and they laughed and said yes. Honestly, I don’t remember their names! But they were so adorable and they all love Mama Flo’s.
Other famous regulars include Swansea and West Brom’s Kyle Bartley, local Stockport lad Will Mellor, Edwina Currie and Stone Roses icon Ian Brown.
“Ian Brown comes all the time, I have a picture of us on my wall,” she said.
Florence, who sold copies of the Manchester Evening News outside the newspaper’s former offices on Deansgate, gave up her job at the perfume counters of Selfridges in 2010 to open her first takeaway in Gorton.
It moved to current premises in Stockport in 2013.
During the lockdowns, it has come to the aid of the community, providing hundreds of free meals to hospitals, care homes and schools, as well as key NHS staff and workers.
She often woke up at 4 a.m. to start cooking for her “Free Food Mondays”, when she provided meals for nurses, police officers and paramedics.
When asked what she thinks draws people to her place, she says she treats it like her home.
“And I make my jerk chicken just like back home in Jamaica, in a tin can,” she says. “It’s authentic, real, natural. That’s what attracts people. They can smell it, the coal blowing through the air. It’s true.
“And I’m a talker, and people love that.”