Family-run firm in Dunfermline outlines how changing tastes, award recognition and worldwide menus are shaping the industry
One of the best-known names in the Scottish fish and chip shop scene is celebrating 21 years’ of ownership under M Crolla & Sons with a contemporary new look.
The Brig at Nethertown Broad Street in Dunfermline has kicked off 2018 in style with a £100k refurbishment, which includes a new £57k Florigo range – enabling food to be cooked to order.
The shop has renewed its interior design with crystal floor tiles, exposed brick walls, and eye-catching red, black and grey graphics.
Its brand new exterior signage features an etching of the Queensferry Crossing on each of the two front windows in a nod to how far the business has come since the very first Brig Café and Chip Shop opened at the same location in 1953.
With its sister shop – known as Brig Two – situated in Linburn Road, already displaying similar contemporary décor and a sleek layout, the Crollas claim the two modern 21st Century fish and chip shops now rival the very best in Scotland.
Marco Crolla, the eldest of the three brothers who own the two Brigs, as well as two other fish and chip shops in Midlothian, said: “When we acquired Brig One, as we now call it, in 1996, we decided to retain the name, and came up with our own Brig logo, which has served us well and become a real trademark.
“It was time for a refresh however at Brig One, to bring the shop in line with the look and style of Brig Two, which has been open now for five years. The refurbishment here at Brig One, which holds a very special place in our hearts, has happily coincided with our 21st birthday, and the year that the new Queensferry Crossing has finally opened.”
As Marco Crolla revealed, the original Brig shop itself has served three generations, having been built by the Corrieri family and then acquired by another local Dunfermline family, the Aitkens who also ran a milk delivery business. The Crolla family bought the building from them in 1998.
He added: “We have some delightful old photographs of how the building used to look when it was the Brig Fish Bar and Café,” said Marco. “The daughters of the original owners are still alive, and we would very much like them to see the shop now, it would be another great way to mark the anniversary.”
Giancarlo Crolla said: “As a 21st century ‘chip shop’, we have to go beyond the realms of the conventional and reflect many kitchens of the world, as well as be aware of changing tastes and fashions in food. We have our own signature batter which is very much one of our USPs.
“Customer expectations are far greater now and we like to think that we not only meet them, but make a point of being innovative in bringing new recipes to our menus. Poutines are a case in point as this is a staple fast food in many regions of Canada and some parts of USA.”
Across the businesses, M Crolla & Sons are using new fish suppliers from Fraserburgh and Peterhead, buying direct from an agent, with fish caught one day and in their shops the next.
Marco Crolla said: “It’s a fresher, higher quality product which means we can pass savings direct onto our customers. We have always been happy to invest in new technology for our industry, such as the Florigo ranges, which are widely acknowledged to be the best, but the quality of the ingredients we use is paramount too.”
Brig One is planning to enter the Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Awards for 2018/19.
“The award organisers are looking for a complete approach in excellence which we believe we can now more than demonstrate. It’s a very exciting time for us all.”