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Published 18th Sep 2017

Matty Hynes is the new general manager of charity restaurant, The Fork in the Road.

Teesside athlete Matty Hynes is ready to combine running marathons with running a restaurant after being appointed as general manager The Fork in the Road in Middlesbrough.

Businessman Andy Preston has been the driving force behind the charity-run restaurant since its opening last Christmas but now he is set to hand over the baton to marathon man Matty.

The Middlesbrough-based runner, who was rated British number two behind only Mo Farah at the half-marathon last year, aims to make The Fork in the Road Teesside’s best restaurant whilst furthering its charity focus.

Backed by Middlesbrough-based national charity CEO Sleepout, the restaurant is focused on giving work and training opportunities to the long-term unemployed including ex-offenders and those in recovery from addiction.

The unique eatery also helps to fund Bar Zero, a dry bar situated upstairs that’s designed to provide an important social facility for Teesside’s recovery community.

Andy said: “The restaurant’s doing really well, it’s established and it’s very highly thought of. In fact we hit Tripadvisor’s number one spot for Middlesbrough restaurants less than five months after opening.

“More importantly, we’re creating training and employment opportunities for local people who need a break or a second chance, so I’m proud of what we’ve achieved so far.

“But the time is right for me to step aside and let a real professional come in and take it to next level. I’m passionate about the project but I just can’t continue to give it the time to do it justice.

“So who better to take over than a local lad who already has experience of running his own eatery, passion for the project and his heart on Teesside?

“Of course, Matty’s athletics achievements mean he’s also a well-known face around the town so that can only be a big help too.”

Matty, 29, is working full-time at The Fork in the Road, having appointed a manager to run Gulp ‘n’ Graze, the York restaurant-bar he owns.

“When Andy told me about this opportunity and what he wanted the restaurant to achieve, it just felt right,” he said.

“Its charity ethos is what really attracted me to the place. There are plenty of good restaurants on Teesside but this one is unique.

“There’s a real sense of fulfilment to be helping the long-term unemployed and there’s some great staff here, who are committed to taking the project to the next level.

“People come here because the food is good, it looks fantastic and because it helps fellow Teessiders, but I think we can take it from strength to strength.

“We’re already making a few changes, we’ve introduced some new dishes and aim to make it more relatable to the area. I’m really excited about its potential.”

And Matty’s also got big plans for his athletics career too, having recharged his batteries whilst taking a two-week break from running after admitting he was suffering from exhaustion.

He said: “I was spending three hours in my car every day, travelling back and forth between Middlesbrough and York, and then trying to train twice a day whilst me and my wife Gemma were trying to adapt to life with our four-month-old son, Cooper.

“Having taken a break, I’m now in a very good place and feel like a new man. My big aim for next year is the London Marathon but I’m only young for a marathon runner and feel sure I can qualify for major championships.

“It’s been a whirlwind year, opening a new business, moving back to Middlesbrough, having our first child and trying to travel to York every day whilst trying to run 100 miles a week.

“But now I’m excited again about my running – and about running The Fork in the Road.”

Along with money from CEO Sleepout, The Fork in the Road and upstairs Bar Zero project gained funding from Public Health England, input charity Recovery Connections and Middlesbrough Council’s Public Health Department.

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