Fish and chips are as synonymous with a trip to the seaside as sandcastles.
But tradition doesn’t mean that time has to stand still – or that heritage has to be forgotten.
Lewis’ Fish and Chip shop is the oldest run chippie in the Northumberland coastal village of Seahouses, and the new generation has been ringing the changes.
Claire Priestly, who has been at the helm for three years with support from brothers and fellow directors Scott and Neil, has made her mark with a £100,000 investment in new equipment and a new look.
At the heart of the changes is a major revamp to the 70-seat café adjoining the takeaway, which occupies a central spot on the Main Street.
Now kitted out as a beachside café, with stone walls, wooden tables crafted by a local carpenter and a range of quirky seaside touches, the eatery also plays homage to Claire’s late father, Stephen.
She says: “My dad took over Lewis’ almost 30 years ago after managing it for the original owners George and Belle Lewis, along with my mother, Gaynor.
“He was a fisherman who had his own coble and was also part of the RNLI.
“When we revamped the café, it was important to me that we remembered that, and visitors can see framed shipping maps and a chart salvaged from a wreck on the walls that all belonged to my dad.”
Claire kept it in the family by bringing in Scott’s partner Sarah Gregory, who runs a holiday cottage business, to work with her on the redesign. The rustic wood, stone and rope theme of the café is in contrast to the clean lines and stainless steel of the takeaway, which features an anchor motif.
The takeaway has also been equipped with a state-of-the-art Hopkins gas range, which fries chips made from potatoes grown in Newbiggin, and fish landed in North Shields.
The cod, haddock, lemon sole and plaice is served up wrapped in a gluten-free batter that is made to a secret family recipe.
Lewis is also unique in Seahouses because it sells fresh lobster and crab – live or cooked – caught by Scott’s boat Annette and Neil’s Serene that operate out of Seahouses Harbour.
The family-feel of Lewis’, which employs 10 people year round and double that number during the high summer season, is a key part of the business.
Claire says: “I started working here when I was 11 washing dishes with my mum. I’m really proud of starting at the bottom and getting to know every bit of the business.
“And although I was determined to put my stamp on the takeaway and café, it’s important that we don’t lose our connection to the past. The décor, featuring dad’s maps and charts, is part of that, and so is the food we serve.
“People have been coming to Lewis’ for years because we serve great traditional fish and chips, and although you can also try the crab and lobster caught by my brothers, fish and chips are the mainstay of our menu.”