Owner & Enthusiast
Keeping it in the family
In the late 1990s Roger Ward was one of the UK’s brightest Advertising Agency bosses. Think Mad Men but without the smoking, style or sex appeal.
One thing that was like the TV show though was the need to wine and dine clients. Rog’s close friend, Steve Pilling, ran Mr Thomas’s Chop House on Cross Street. And this soon became his preferred choice for making a sparkling first impression.
Great home cooked food, beautiful historic surroundings and superb wines, spirits and beer. Tom’s was a truly special place. It resonated with Rog’s passion and his monstrous appetite.
After the death of Roger’s Dad Norman in 1999, the prospect of continuing to work as an employee began to lose its shine.
Rog was offered the chance to go to Cuba with his Dad’s best friend, world-renowned Jamaican tenor saxophone player, Andy Hamilton. Once Errol Flynn's bandleader and known as the Godfather of Calypso Jazz. But to do that, Rog would have to resign from his ad job. Work vs life?
Of course, the decision was a no brainer.
Rog went to Cuba, carried Andy's saxophone which he had named Norman, grieved his loss in style and left the ad world. He hasn't looked back.
Roger and Steve founded The Victorian Chop House Company in 2000 with the mission of re-opening Sam’s to re-join its famous brother Mr Thomas’s as a thriving Manchester institution.
20 years later Roger is now the sole owner of The Victorian Chop House Company. He maintains the same passion for upholding the highest standards in food, drink and service. He eats just as much. And Sam’s and Tom’s are both reinstated as icons of the Manchester food & drink industry. The BBC has called them local institutions.
Rog’s sons have both grown up in the Chop Houses. If you have ever visited, it’s probable one of them may even have served your beer or your dinner. Our independent family heritage is something we are
very proud of.