Imagine travelling to Paris but never actually seeing the Eiffel Tower or holidaying in Italy without wolfing down a single pizza. It would be like visiting Skipton and not sampling Bizzie Lizzie’s fish and chips.
Jean Ritson took over the Belmont Bridge Fisheries at Swadford Street in 1986 and within three years proved such a success with the takeaway business that she extended and modernised the premises to provide a restaurant as well. To mark the occasion a new title for the shop was required and using her middle name, alongside her wish to serve as many hungry customers as possible, Bizzie Lizzie’s was born.
Bizzie Lizzie’s reputation grew rapidly and a host of awards came rolling in including first place (or should that be ‘plaice’?) in the prestigious National Fish and Chip Awards in 1999. By 2002 the company was ready to expand again and their second restaurant was opened at High Street Car Park offering the usual sensational fish and chips seven days a week but also providing a meeting place for breakfasts, scones, coffee and, new for 2014, a set menu afternoon tea.
Jean’s son Allan now runs the company and his son Jake prepares the fish of a morning meaning that this Skipton dining dynasty now stretches across three generations. The family ethos and atmosphere is one of the many reasons that Bizzie Lizzie’s has been so successful; they became the first fish and chip shop in the country to be awarded the Investors in People accreditation which shows how important a harmonious working environment is to Bizzie Lizzie’s.
The staff are hugely appreciated at the restaurant and so are the customers, “anyone who chooses to come to our restaurants and takeaways has a massive choice in Skipton” explains Allan’s wife Katie, “so we value every person who walks through that door. They chose us over everyone else”. Bizzie Lizzie’s are clear in their aim to provide high quality food at affordable prices and to give a high standard dining experience every time. “We want people to find our food and service even better than they expect so they come back time and time again” says Katie.
With Skipton positioned, as its own publicity is keen to point out, at the gateway of the Dales there is a steady stream of tourist trade through the eating places and hostelries of the town. The temptation for the less astute business might be therefore to rest on one’s laurels and rely on people who will only visit once so don’t need to be tempted back but that has never been the way for Bizzie Lizzie’s. “We’re here for the locals as well as the tourists” states Katie “we want everyone to have that awesome experience that keeps them returning”.
There is love and care that goes into every item on the Bizzie Lizzie’s menu; the bread is freshly baked and sourced locally from Haigh’s Bakery, the meat comes from Stanforth’s and is traceable back to neighbouring Skipton farms, the potatoes are provided by wholesaler Robert Wellock in Barnoldswick. These are barely ‘food miles’, more like ‘food metres’.
Everything is homemade using family recipes; the flavoursome mushy peas, the mouth-watering steak and kidney top crust pies and tasty chilli con carne.
Not forgetting the chips, of course; double fried in beef dripping to create that winning crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside combination that has stood this family company in such good stead over the years.
You can be assured that the crispy battered fish is from a sustainable source too; they utilise Icelandic cod and haddock from a provider who has been certified under the Responsible Fisheries Management Programme. Allan even travelled to Iceland himself a couple of years ago to see the boats and meet the fisherman.
It’s plain to see that it’s the attention to detail, the love that goes into the creation and also serving of the dishes that make Bizzie Lizzie’s the institution in Yorkshire fish and chips that they have become.
Love Fish and Chips…Love Bizzie Lizzie’s