A Bristol chip shop is reinstating the name it first opened with over 35 years ago in a bid to boost trade and honour its original owner.
Ocean Catch, on Filton Avenue, has a new sign going up tonight and will once again trade as Jolly Fryer – a nod to the current owner’s dad who passed away five years ago.
Opened by his dad in 1986, Nick Lomvardos worked alongside his brothers and parents at the Jolly Fryer for 24 years. In 2010, Nick left to open his own fish and chip shop in nearby Bishopston. When his father passed away, his brothers ran the shop for a year before Nick took over and renamed it.
Nick comments: “My dad came over from Greece in the 1960s and his dream was to have his own shop, so when he bought the shop he was so pleased. He called it Jolly Fryer because he was such a jolly guy, he always had a smile on his face. The Jolly Fryer was my dad and when he passed away it didn’t feel right to keep the name, especially as I wasn’t working there, I had my own shop at Bishopston to run, so I changed the name to Ocean Catch.”
While Ocean Catch continued to trade, it was never as busy as its Jolly Fryer days. Then Covid hit and when Nick returned to cover a few shifts a week at the takeaway, customers were surprised to see him back behind the range.
Nick adds: “All I got from day one was, ‘why did you change the name? We didn’t realise it was still your shop’. Then a young girl walked in recently and said, ‘it was always going to be the Jolly Fryer, you should never have changed the name. You’ve always got a smile on your face, you’re the jolly fryer, you should change it back.’
“The shop wasn’t doing that great so I thought, let’s try this and see if we can get some business coming back.
“We’ll try anything at the moment, I don’t want to give up. I read about so many shops closing down and I’m not ready for that yet. Even if we’re not making any money, at least we are doing something. I still enjoy my work and I do it with a smile on my face, so I thought, let’s give it a go.”
To mark the reopening tonight, Jolly Fryer is giving away free chips with every order.
“Hopefully we won’t be able to keep up!” adds Nick.