The small Devon village of Woolsery has been the focus of a regeneration project by a successful American couple and their first step was to overhaul the local fish and chip shop!
Michael and Xochi Birch founded the social network Bebo and later sold it to AOL for £550 million. Now Michael wants to invest some of his money into Woolsery where his family were originally from and where better to start than with the local fish and chip shop!
Woolsery Fish and Chips first opened in mid-June and has already seen an overwhelmingly positive response from their customers as General Manager Jay Oyarzabal explained: ‘It’s been awesome! Business has really picked up since we’ve opened and we’re now incredibly busy especially during the weekend.’
The focus is on locally sourced products made in-house and they have teamed up with local butchers to also provide burgers, chicken and sausages: ‘After our fish and chips, our second most popular item on the menu is our homemade cheeseburger pattie. Then we have our specials: for example last week we had pulled pork burgers which flew out the door!’
Jay and the team wanted to gauge the business first so, apart from their Facebook page, they haven’t done any advertising so far but word has got out and the customers aren’t solely locals. ‘In winter we’ll look to advertise in local papers and perhaps on local roads but currently we’re very happy with the direction of the business!’
Although Jay is a chef by trade, he was completely new to the fish and chip industry and has found elements to be a learning curve: ‘I had never used a frying range before but now I’ve got to grips with the Florigo, I think it’s fantastic! Really over the moon with it!’
Now that the fish and chip shop is up and running, the next projects are to refurb the derelict village pub before finally converting the local manor house into a hotel and if the success and high standard of the fish and chip shop are anything to go by, Woolsery has a lot to look forward to!