When Nick Damurakis opened Athena’s in the seaside town of Bexhill in May 2015, he knew he had quite a challenge ahead
There were several other well-established fish and chip shops which had already been trading for a number of years, however, in the space of just one year Athena’s has won a plethora of accolades. From Trip Advisor’s “Number One in Bexhill”, Top 10 Best New Fish and Chip shops in the UK, Fry Magazine Top 50 Best Fish and Chips Shops in UK and being awarded the NFFF Quality Award.
Nick decided to take a very different approach to Fish and Chips starting with the interior of the shop. “I designed it myself to combine the modern and clean look I wanted without losing the feel of a traditional fish and chip shop. I researched the psychology of different colours and the positive and negative effects they have on consumers. We decided on green as the main colour with a mix of natural wood to convey a fresh and healthy outdoor feeling with a few industrial touches to complete the retro vibe.”
“I chose Ceres | Pure Food Innovation as a main supplier as their philosophy is in tune with ours. Ceres uses the best ingredients, exactly what I am into. Athena’s believe that fast food does not mean it has to be unhealthy or laden with artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. Nowadays too many food outlets serve what we believe are “food like” products full of artificial chemicals which harm us.
We used to use the Ceres | Natural Batter Mix which unlike most batter mixes does not contain any MSG, preservatives, flavourings or colourings and is non GM and 100% British flour. We have recently switched to the Ceres | Yorkshire Batter Mix and we love it! The batter is slightly darker and flatter in appearance. We feel that the flavour has another dimension and the texture and finish is superb.”
“We pride ourselves in only serving the best sauces from leading brands such as Heinz. The Ceres | Chip Shop Curry Sauce is far superior to other brands in flavour and performance and unlike other curry sauces on the market, the Ceres | Chip Shop Curry Sauce is always consistent. And, most importantly Ceres | Chip Shop Curry Sauce is a firm favourite with our customers.
When we first opened we gave sides away as a special promotion to give customers the chance to try before they buy. The promotion helped establish our range of sides and now we sell hundreds every week. Ceres | Natural Pea Seasoning is so simple to use and it brings the flavour alive. We make them fresh every day and get through a huge amount of peas, in fact we have turned a lot of pea haters into pea lovers!””
The Ceres | Complete Fish Cake Mix is amazing! We use the Mix time after time and enjoy having a play with it to come up with new recipes. Fishcakes don’t always have to be made with cod. The Ceres | Fish Cake Mix can be used as a base to experiment and create a more premium product such as Smoked Haddock and Mature Cheddar Croquettes.
My daughter Athena, who we named the shop after, is gluten and dairy intolerant. This spurred me on to find a safe way to offer Gluten-Free Fish and Chips. The Ceres | Gluten-Free Batter Mix is a very different product to the standard batter and mixing it needs careful attention. We use digital scales to measure the correct ratio of mix to water. We have a busy weekly Gluten-Free Fish and Chips evening. It is a lot of work because all prep areas, ingredients and utensils must not be contaminated. It is very rewarding to see repeat customers and especially young children who are gluten intolerant enjoying fish and chips happy in the knowledge that it is safe for them to eat. For some Coeliacs it has been the first time in years that they have been able to enjoy eating Fish and Chips!” Nick explains: “I love it when people come back, time and time again because they love what we do. It gives me a great buzz.”
“Ceres customer support is incredible. The personal touch makes Ceres unique. Stelios helps not just me but everyone! It’s good to know that you’ve got backup from a company that cares. Stelios genuinely cares and I consider him not only a main supplier but also a friend.”