The couple behind Riley’s Fish Shack, a quirky pop-up food venture, are hoping people power will help them achieve their dream of opening a more permanent set-up.
Adam and Lucy Riley launched their mobile ‘shack’ at Tynemouth Food Festival in 2012 and for the last two summers have pitched the home-made contraption beside King Edward’s Bay.
Now they have turned to crowdfunding to help raise £20,000 towards a more static base.
They hope fans of their al fresco-style barbecued seafood will pledge money so that in the spring they can open a new and semi-portable Riley’s Fish Box made from two converted shipping containers.
Adam, 31, and Lucy, 32, have identified three possible sites in Tynemouth, including King Edward’s Bay, pending council approval,
If all goes to plan, the Fish Box will be open in time for this year’s Tynemouth Food Festival at the Priory and Castle on the weekend of May 9-10 and remain in place for around six months before being removed for the winter.
But the clock is ticking. The Rileys’ dream will only become a reality if they can raise the £20,000 by 8.46pm on March 4 when their crowdfunding campaign must end.
The final amount will then be matched by private investment.
The beachside diner will house a kitchen with a charcoal barbecue and wood-fired pizza oven so trained chef Adam can cook his own flatbreads, as well as a bar and seating for up to 40.
The front of the containers will fold down to create a decking area and Adam and Lucy plan to install folding glass doors to cater for the UK’s unpredictable summer weather.
Riley’s Fish Box, which will offer breakfast, lunch and evening meals, will develop their popular takeaway menu offering grilled seafood wraps and barbecued lobster.
There will be locally cured gravadlax in the salmon season and the classic colonial breakfast dish, kedgeree.
Adam says they have turned to crowdfunding as a “unique and forward thinking way of raising funds.
“Other street food traders in other parts of the country have successfully used it to back their ventures and it’s a great promotional tool for raising awareness about the project.”
Backers are being offered a range of incentives, including limited edition T-shirts, the chance to have a lobster cooked at the location of their choice, private catering for a special event and even a lifetime of Fish Box meals.
Adam – who, with Matt Boyle of Wylam Brewery, co-hosts the food, drink and live entertainment Boiler Shop Steamer every month in Newcastle’s Stephenson Works – designed the Fish Box with help from Ryder Architecture.
Like the Fish Shack, it will have a rustic feel. “If possible, we’d love to use some materials that have been washed up on the beach,” he says.
“The containers themselves are made of corten steel. The top layer is designed to rust so it forms a natural protective barrier and we’re keen to use that as an aesthetic.”
The couple have been keen to develop a more permanent base for some time but want to stay in Tynemouth, where they live.
“The Fish Shack on the beach at King Edward’s Bay has been really successful for two summers now. But we have only been able to run it between June and September at weekends and on bank holidays and it has been weather dependent,” Adam says.
“The Fish Box will probably open Thursday to Sunday and will offer shelter from the elements.
“The beauty of Riley’s Fish Box is that the containers can also easily be transported to different sites.”
Potential investors can find out more and make a pledge at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/rileys-fish-shack