Fish & Chips
1216 South Park
by JANA EISENBERG
DAMIAN PARKER HAS A SHOWMAN’S SOUL, an entrepreneur’s
spirit, and an obsessive’s attention to quality and service. From early aspirations to bring the best and most authentic British products
to customers in North America, he and his wife, Vicky, have grown
their online business, Parker’s Great British Institution, into a world-renowned, award-winning purveyor of many, many things British.
HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN THE
AUTHENTICITY OF THE FISH AND CHIPS?
The whole process uses 100 percent UK products—from our frying range to the potato chippers and
peelers, all the equipment is imported from the UK. We only use Icelandic cod, fished by the same vessel
that supplies the best chip shops in
the UK. We use a recipe that’s over
150 years old. The batter is light and
elegant. There’s a secret to how we
process the potatoes that makes them
less starchy and results in a lighter
HOW DO BRITISH FISH AND CHIPS DIFFER
FROM A FISH FRY?
Fish and chips are the grandfather
of the fish fry. Fish and chips are seasoned with only salt and vinegar. The
three traditional sides found in every
chip shop from England to Ireland,
Scotland, and Wales are mushy peas,
curry sauce, and gravy. There are seasonal tweaks, like on Robert Burns
Night, in Scotland, haggis is battered
Jana Eisenberg writes regularly for
Their brick-and-mortar chip shop,
says Parker, is increasingly popular
with British ex-pats, Canadians, and
tourists who often learn about the
spot when it’s featured on the Food
Channel. Their overall goal is to
build a “luxury lifestyle brand” that
includes all sorts of products and categories, as well as a destination in
Buffalo that recreates a British High
Street experience and offers immersive shopping, entertainment, and
educational opportunities for tourists
and locals alike.
Buffa-proud of their own famous
fish fry, Buffalonians have yet to fully
embrace the UK-style fish and chips,
says Parker. But there’s always time.
And he’ll keep frying.
WHY DID YOU WANT TO DO THIS TYPE OF
We are passionate about it, proud
of our West Yorkshire heritage. When
we first came to the States, we’d
hear people say, “Oh, English food
is bland.” Even if they’d never tasted it! We are championing the right
way of doing it, giving the “proper”
experience. Once they try it, they get
WHAT IS YOUR MISSION HERE?
We want to educate and showcase
the quality of the food and the culture. We are doing this for lot of different reasons and on many levels.
Buffalo has the second highest number of people of Irish heritage in the
States, so we can offer that connection. We’re also championing tourism for Buffalo. Most of our customer
base comes from out of state—they’re
“road-tripping” and Parker’s is a destination for them. We are proud that
we can help bring fresh money to the