A new fried-fish emporium has come to town, and it has a decidedly foreign twist.
The British Chippy, the South Park Avenue fish-and-chips shop run by English Pork Pie Company owners Vicky and Damian Parker, began serving food Friday.
Although the husband-and-wife duo originally planned to debut in February, the June 6 soft opening featured a limited menu focused on Battered Cod and Chips ($12), as Damian noted he wanted to start simple and make certain that his imported cooking equipment worked without a hiccup.
As noted by Buffalo Rising, the Parkers imported a Birmingham, England fish-fry range -- specialty frying equipment -- that churns out large battered fillets of fresh Atlantic cod, which, in general, is a little more pricy than Buffalo's fish-fry staple, haddock.
Once the fish is tossed into a batter -- the recipe for which also hails from the UK -- and deep-fried, the fillets remain under a heat lamp, allowing the takeout process to be rather snappy.
Accompanying the range is a chipper, a tool that slices potatoes into custom-sized French fries, as we know them.
Once piled together, the result is an authentic fish and chips, not too unlike the fresh, humble dish I adored from a small family restaurant in Northumberland, a coastal region in the northern UK, while studying abroad in 2005.
If you choose the fish-and-chips route, small packets of tartar sauce are available as a condiment, while The British Chippy employees will ask if you'd like vinegar and salt on your chips. The meal is then wrapped in three different pieces of thin paper -- not exactly newspaper texture, but close -- for proper presentation.
The authenticity rolls even deeper, as Vicky directed my attention to a basket of small wooden "forks" -- I considered them more like mini pitchforks -- and although they took a little getting accustomed to, the utensils were a clever touch.
The shop seats only eight inside -- four chairs along opposing walls -- yet outside, 10 picnic tables sit invitingly across from the parking lot. It's hard to turn down opportunities to eat outdoors.
The Parkers explained that other menu items, like the Battered Sausage and Chips ($9.50) and the Chip Butty ($4.50) -- the idea of which had Buffalo News food editor Andrew Galarneau in a fit of ecstasy, won't be available until next week.
Other options that can be purchased immediately, however, include the Pie and Chips ($11) and Cornish Pasty and Chips ($11), both of which weave together central elements of EPPC and The British Chippy -- as you can see below, the two menu boards are next to each other.
Speaking briefly with Damian, who hovered cautiously over the uber-hot fryer as we chatted, the co-owner explained that he handled the layout and decorations of the previously unused empty space, allowing him to tailor much of the room to his and Vicky's liking. As you can see, the Parkers didn't restrain themselves from iconic British art.
Although The British Chippy is closed on Sunday, the shop will be open for business from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday. Take note that the shop remains open slightly longer than 5 p.m., which was the English Pork Pie Co.'s closing time before the dawn of the British Chippy. These hours should remain consistent for at least the week of June 9-14.
The British Chippy
1176 South Park Ave.