Investment in Seahouses chip shop is no small fry

Chips are up: Neal, Claire and Scott Priestley
Chips are up: Neal, Claire and Scott Priestley

A long-established fish and chip business is looking batter than ever following a major refurbishment and installation of state-of-the-art new equipment.

Lewis’s Fish and Chip Shop and Café in Seahouses, which is run by the second generation of the Priestley family, now boasts a new-look takeaway and café.

The revamp took three weeks and was completed in time for the busy May bank holiday weekend. The takeaway is now equipped with a gas Hopkins range while a complete overhaul of the 90-cover café has been carried out to create a comfortable beachside ambience.

Claire Priestley has been running the business for the last three years with support from her brothers and fellow directors Scott and Neal, who are also fishermen working from Seahouses Harbour in their boats, Serene and Annette.

She said: “My dad Stephen took over the chip shop from its original owners George and Belle Lewis nearly 30 years ago after managing it for them for many years.

“Dad was a fisherman with his own coble and was also a member of the RNLI. My brothers are also fishermen and supply the café with freshly-caught lobster and crab which we sell directly to our customers.”

While Lewis’s employs 10 staff year-round, the number of people employed by the business doubles during the busy summer months to cope with the influx of visitors who want a taste of traditional Northumberland fish and chips.

Claire herself started out washing dishes for the café alongside her mum when she was just 11.

Claire said: “I was after an individual look that still reflected our heritage. We’ve created a beachside café vibe, with lots of fishing motifs and seaside finds. The shipping maps and charts on the walls belonged to my late dad, and were salvaged from a ship wreck.

“We brought in a local joiner to create the new tables and I worked with Scott’s partner Sarah who specialises in interiors to come up with a great colour scheme and find the quirky, coastal items that make the café unique.”

The chips are made from potatoes grown in Newbiggin and the fish, landed in North Shields, is cooked in batter whose recipe has been passed down through the Priestley family.