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Fife chippy adds American-style diner to boost quiet days

The Fish Hoose in Thornton, Fife, has added a 20-seater American-style diner to its fish and chip takeaway.

Open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4pm to 8pm, the diner is kitted out with 1950s black and white booth seating, stainless steel tables and vinyl records on the wall while the menu serves up American classics such as loaded fries, milkshakes and burgers.

Owner Colin Cromar, comments: “We’re still very much your traditional fish tea - fish and chips, bread and butter, mushy peas and a pot of tea, but we’ve introduced things like loaded fries, hot dogs, burgers and milkshakes to try and attract a wider audience.

“We’re seeing a lot of new people coming in, older folk that want fish and chips and a pot of tea but also the younger generation getting a milkshake with a chilli cheese hot dog. It’s just something different.”

After the first lockdown in 2020, the space was used as a fresh fishmongers with Colin serving an array of species including haddock, lemon sole, dressed crab and oysters. But as restrictions eased, demand began to drop.

“It wasn't doing enough,” explains Colin. “We had the space and I wanted to try something else. I was on the way back from the KFE Dinner Dance and we pulled into an American diner on the M1 and I thought this is quite a good idea, so that’s why I tried it.”

The diner runs alongside the chippy Tuesdays to Thursdays but closes to make way for the busy fish and chips takeaway at the end of the week. Colin explains: “The idea with the diner is to try and push those quieter days. We are closed Sundays and Mondays, and Fridays and Saturdays take care of themselves with online orders, collections and walk-ups. We knew if we had people sitting in on those days too it would just get messy, so to try and keep a level of service everyone is happy with we just operate the diner Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

“My wife Trish cooks all the homemade items and does the table service but, apart from that, we haven’t had to take on any extra staff. It’s working really because it’s a little bit extra profit for no more staffing costs.

“And it’s nice to have that dine-in option. I’ve always had table service at previous shops and we were always being asked here, when are you going to do table service? Now we can with something a little bit different.”

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