Heckmondwike will be home to the UK’s first gluten-free-only fish and chip shop when a new chippy opens this month.
Owner Jad Choudhury is hoping that food intolerance sufferers from across the region will travel to the Yorkshire Chippy, in the Westgate area of the town.
He decided to set up the takeaway after seeing his wife, who has a gluten allergy, being unable to eat a fish supper due to the gluten content of the batter.
The business, which is set to open at the end of October, will serve fish in a special coating made from wheat-free rice flour sourced from a supplier in Scotland. Although many chip shops offer a gluten-free option, Jad’s chippy will be the first to have a fully gluten-free menu. His unique venture will also see customers offered a selection of more than 20 different sauces with their meals, and he is planning to serve retro chip shop favourites such as beef fritters and spiral-shaped tornado potatoes.
The businessman, who comes from a family of restauranteurs, has even invited local MP Jo Cox to officially visit the new eatery.
“We’ve had a lot of support from Jo, and also from Coeliac’s disease charities. My wife is intolerant but she craves fish and chips! It’s unique and it has a twist - I want to bring back old dishes like the fritters, which were popular in wartime but disappeared in the eighties,” said Jad.
“It’s my first venture, and I want to recruit local staff who are familiar with the community so we get that loyalty.”.
If the Heckmondwike shop is a success, Jad wants to expand the Yorkshire Chippy brand across the county, and would love to open a branch in Leeds.
“We’ve had so many good responses so far - Jo Cox has been Tweeting us, she made the move, and there’s been great feedback from the Coeliac community. Gluten-free food is our sole purpose.”
And Jad is keen not to put off diners who are able to eat gluten, as he is finding wheat-free versions of the UK’s national dish are gaining in popularity.
“People who aren’t intolerant like it too - they are willing to travel from places like Manchester and Huddersfield for these fish and chips. We’ve found our USP and we just want to focus on it,” he added.
Yorkshire Chippy has a generous discount scheme, with members of the armed forces, students, OAPs and NHS workers all eligible.