Digbeth Dining Club (DDC) was born out of two NCASS staff members passion for the street food culture that was emerging in London back in 2009.
Fast forward to 2012 and DDC ran its first event out the back of the relatively unknown Spotlight (now known as Mama Roux’s). Opening with just a few stalls, DDC gave a hint of to the wonderful diversity and creativity that Birmingham had to offer, culminating in two consecutive wins of Best Street Food Event in the UK. By 2019, DDC had become accustomed to over 8,000 visitors every week. Operating pop-ups around the Midlands on nearly a monthly basis, DDC was quickly established as one of the most popular events in the country. The pandemic, unsurprisingly, created problems and DDC was forced to close in 2020 and cancel all their events for that year. However, they came back with even stronger and by 2021, DDC had opened The Open Arms inside Warwick Castle, Hockley Social Club and Herbert’s Yard.
DDC was based on NCASS principles of respecting, supporting and working for the caterers who are the ultimate stars of the show in street food.
DDC success is an indication of the power of street food to generate wealth within a community, whilst supporting and developing a sense of pride in place and community. Its success means that it is now being presented to government departments as a demonstrator of the potential of hospitality led generation.
As DDC celebrates its momentous 10th anniversary, we asked NCASS Director Mark Laurie, who has been a part of DDC since the very beginning, to share some thoughts with us:
I’d have laughed if you told me a decade ago that we would be here today!
I think the ethos of Digbeth Dining Club has set the tone for how others operate and are received by both the public, and traders, and this ethos has been adopted by other successful events around the country. I think that’s what I’m most proud of – that the culture and community of street food has survived and grown and, in many ways, become the industry norm.
I feel very fortunate to have played a small part in DDC and (an even smaller part) in helping so many genuinely lovely people to launch their dream businesses and to watch them evolve and grow.
You can discover some of the amazing independent traders who were there from DDC’s early days here.
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