A chip shop and restaurant in Sheffield has battered the competition to be named The Star’s Chippy of the Year.
In first ‘plaice’ is Frymaster on Attercliffe Road, Attercliffe - and a secret family recipe is the key to the eatery’s success.
Owner Richard Pearce said: “I use a family recipe for the batter that was passed down from my grandmother. My family has been using it for more than 80 years.”
Richard, 48, has being fish-frying since he left school at 15 and is a chip off the old block as he is the third generation from his family to go into the business.
He said: “I think the secret to the shop’s success is experience. I’ve been doing this a long time. We’ve got brilliant staff as well and that helps. It’s good to know that traditional fish and chips are alive and well.
“It’s just fantastic to have won, I’ve been frying for over 30 years and this is the first time I’ve ever won anything.”
And the premises itself also has a history - it used to be home to the infamous Omega Sauna.
The brothel, seized by the Serious Organised Crime Agency in 2004, became a fish and chip takeaway and restaurant in 2011 after Richard bought the 70-seater shop from the crime squad.
The downstairs sauna and steam room are now the stock rooms, and the fish preparation room is over the old swimming pool.
Meanwhile the runner-up is Abbey Friar, on Abbeydale Road.
The chippy was praised for its quality fresh fish that keeps customers coming back for more, with some of the same faces queueing up on a regular basis since the shop opened.
The takeaway has been open for almost three decades and manager Andrew Cutts, 51, has worked there for more than 20 years.
He said: “It’s the fresh fish that makes this place. There’s not a lot of chip shops that still do it. But we get quality fresh fish delivered from Grimsby. If you’re seeing fish for under £3.50 it’s not fresh, because fresh fish is expensive as it’s harder to get.”
Andrew uses seasonal potato varieties to ensure he always serves mouthwateringly good chips.
He said: “Maris Piper are the best potatoes to use and they’re in season at the moment. Then through the rest of the year we use whatever is going to get the best taste.
“We also get a lot of the same customers, which makes it a great place to come to. The staff are all really friendly and we have a laugh with everyone.”
In third place is Dykes Shoal, on Dykes Hall Road in Hillsborough.
It is run by husband-and-wife team Steve Mosley and Jo Ashton-Mosley, who bought the premises just under three years ago.
The pair were new to the trade - but the venue’s popularity now means customers queue out of the shop and down the road during busy periods.
They said the recipe to their success is frying their food in beef dripping and using fish.
Jo said: “We fry to order and people don’t mind waiting as it tastes so good. I may be biased but I think Steve’s fish and chips are the best. Our customers come for his food and my cheek, I think.
“When we opened the shop we were welcomed with open arms into the community and our customers have really helped build the business.”
However fans of the shop will have to savour the taste of Dykes Shoal while they can, as the couple are moving to the Isle of Wight and will be putting the shop on the market later this year.