Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Thank Cod for Harry's

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Thank Cod for Harry's

Article excerpt

Byline: By Richard Ord

Harry Ransden's

Metro Park West, Gibside Way,

Tel: (0191) 460 2625.

Harry Ramsden, so the story goes, once served 10,000 customers on a glorious day for fish and chips back in 1952.

If he'd been at the helm of Gateshead's branch last Good Friday, poor Harry would have punched a hole through his famous straw boater in frustration.

Service at the Metro Park West branch of the "world-famous" chippie was slow. There were plenty of customers flying through the door and what appeared to be more then enough staff on the floor to cope, but the battered cods stubbornly refused to venture beyond the kitchen doors.

There was no reaction from Harry. He just beamed down a frozen smile from his framed photograph on the wall, his straw boater raised, vaudeville-style, above his head. Was he laughing at us?

Time ticked by and while the buttered bread and drinks were as quick to arrive as the profuse apologies of our waiter, it was to take a full 45 minutes more before our order landed on the table.

It was Good Friday (a day when folk traditionally head for the fish shop) and the place (or should that be plaice?) was busy, so we let it pass ( but only because our three-year-old was displaying astonishingly good behaviour while our three-month-old slept soundly.

When the dishes did arrive however, they were well worth the wait. The cod was big and beautifully battered and came with traditional chip shop-style mushy peas and a hefty serving of chips.

I also ordered a side serving of curry sauce and a bowl of onion rings, which were bursting with flavour. Harry himself would have been proud. Of course, Harry's links with the modern Ramsden's chain are fairly tenuous. He built his own business from scratch, selling fish from a tiny shed in the village of Guiseley in 1928. His business was a success and soon he was able to achieve his ambition of opening his own fish and chip restaurant ( based on the interior of the Ritz Hotel.

And the modern Ramsden's you see today is based on his original idea. The staff continue to be decked out in black waiter and waitress uniforms; the windows are in a stained glass-style and the whole, large interior has the appearance of a traditional Yorkshire teashop. …

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