Family run firm behind the two Dunfermline Brigs 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, The Brig at Nethertown Broad Street, Dunfermline, currently celebrating twenty one years of ownership under present owners, M Crolla & Sons, has unveiled a brand new look.
The ¸100k refurbishment, kicking off 2018 in style, sees The Brig take possession of a new ¸57k Dutch range, which enables food to be cooked to order, and gives the perfect golden brown finish to chips which are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
The shop displays an impressive new interior design with new crystal floor tiles, trendy exposed brick walls, and eye catching red, black and grey graphics. Outside there is brand new signage, including an etching of the new Queensferry Crossing on each of the two front windows. It’s 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 two modern 21st Century fish and chip shops now rival the very best in Scotland.
“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,” said Marco Crolla, the eldest of the three brothers who own the two Brigs, plus two other fish and chip shops in Midlothian. “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.
“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,” he added.
Middle brother Michael Crolla explained that he and his brothers were delighted to have Brig One open again after its refit, which was completed in as short a timespan as possible.
“We have many regulars in this part of the town for whom we are the fish and chip take out of choice, and we didn’t want to disappoint them in being closed for too long,” he said. “We can’t wait to gauge their feedback on the new look.”
In the past twenty one years, The Brig has become Dunfermline’s leading name in quality fish and chips. Whilst this product is still the mainstay of the business, over the past few years many other types of food from kitchens of the world has been introduced to the menu, to present customers with an exciting eating experience. This has included freshly prepared pasta, pizza, and a range of marinated chicken skewers. Brig One even sells delicious desserts.
“We also have our American Menu offering 100% Beefburgers, Nachos, and Poutines, which are skin-on skinny fries with a selection of different toppings and sauces available, extremely popular in the Canadian market,” said younger brother, Giancarlo Crolla. All three brothers are actively involved in the business, bringing different specialities to the table.
New fish options at The Brig include a Fish Submarine Sandwich and homemade premium Fish Cakes. Sea salt is now available, instead of standard salt, and the business produces a homemade tartare sauce. Additionally, a new Panko breadcrumb option, which gives a really crispy coating on a fish fillet, is another choice to opt for.
“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,” said Giancarlo. “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.
“It’s a fresher, higher quality product which means we can pass savings directly onto our customers,” said Marco Crolla. “We have always been happy to invest in new technology for our industry, 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,” finished Michael Crolla.
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