The Quayside in Whitby on adding healthier options to their menu and a new venture in Robin Hood's Bay
PUBLISHED: 10:39 23 May 2017
supplied by Zoe Fusco
It's been just over two years since the Fusco family business earned the title of UK's number one fish and chip restaurant and takeaway. Esther Leach makes a return visit to the Quayside, Whitby to find out what happened next.
Fish and chips are, for many in Yorkshire at least, the finest fast food of all – especially if it is served by the Fusco family in Whitby. ‘It takes just five minutes to cook fish and chips – all the work and time is spent in the preparation,’ says Stuart Fusco director and head chef at the Quayside restaurant and takeaway.
It is still a family business founded by his grandmother five decades ago and in 2014 became the number one independent fish and chip takeaway in the UK. At the time Stuart, together with his mother Carol Fusco, talked about the importance of being able to trace all the ingredients they use back to their origins, even down to the beef dripping. That hasn’t changed.
‘Fish and chips are a treat, they are not meant to be eaten every day,’ says Stuart. ‘And when they are eaten as a treat they are among the most wholesome fast foods you can have. We make it our business to know exactly where the wheat for the flour in our batter mix comes from; we know the trawler crew who catch the fish and where the fish are caught and we have been to the slaughter houses where the beef dripping comes from and the potatoes we use are from Yorkshire, Lancashire and Lincolnshire.
‘It is important to us and our customers that we know who we work with and where everything we eat here at Quayside comes from and that includes catching the fish we serve in a sustainable way. Our cod comes from Icelandic waters; we’ve met the trawler men and we know who to go to if there is any kind of a problem.’
The Quayside became the first fish and chip shop in Yorkshire to be given the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) stamp of approval for its sustainably sourced fish. ‘Sustainability remains a big focus for us, we are fully committed to serving fish certified by the MSC and all four of our outlets have the MSC chain of custody as well as our mobile catering trailer,’ says Stuart.
‘This means we can guarantee that all our cod and haddock is certified by the MSC as sustainable. The iconic blue logo is shown against the certified species on the menu to help customers make an informed choice.’
The family business includes the Quayside restaurant and takeaway on Pier Road, Whitby, the Royal Fisheries on Baxtergate and the Fish Box, an express-style takeaway on Langborne Road. Today there is a second Fish Box, which is their new style of take-away, in Robin Hood’s Bay. ‘The new shop in Robin Hood’s Bay, roughly five miles from Whitby, was opened in March 2016,’ says Stuart. ‘We have enjoyed a great first year of trade in Robin Hood’s Bay and the shop has proved popular with locals and tourists alike. It’s brilliant to see another Fish Box in the area.
‘The shop itself is perched right on top of the cliff so customers can enjoy panoramic views out to sea from all windows of the shop. It really is a lovely place to be, even when it’s raining and cold, you can be tucked up inside the shop next to the fire watching the rain tapping at the windows. And in summer, it’s just lovely to see the boats, hear the gulls and watch children heading down to the beach ready for a day playing.
In 2015, the family took their fish and chips on the road in the form of ‘The Whitby Fish and Chips Catering Trailer’. ‘Our trailer has been to some very busy festivals and some major events around the country,’ says Stuart. ‘The wonderful thing about the trailer is that customers will get the same product that they find at one of our shops. Everything is the same, we just pop our stock in our mobile fridge and once there, we fry in exactly the same way. We are able to handle the large queues at these events because the frying range inside the trailer is a high-efficiency range. It feels really good to be able to take our fish and chips outside Whitby to the masses.
‘We have this year launched a new menu for Quayside as we recognise that, although synonymous with Whitby, not every customer wants fish and chips every time. The new menu features a wider variety of fish that is cooked on our new state of the art grill. This also makes the food lighter for those who prefer a healthier option. The new menu sees an expansion in the starter and dessert menus too. We try very hard to really listen to customers and respond to changes in their tastes and habits and we hope that the new menu at Quayside is an example of that.’