Wednesday, 25 March 2015

FOOD: Scotty Simpson's Fish & Chips

James (Scotty) Simpson, a Scottish native opened a small fish n chips shop on a corner in the Detroit neighbourhood of Brightmoor in 1950. It became so successful he expanded the chippie into his butchers shop in the building next door. Sixty five years later and the business is still standing strong. 

Walking through the front door I was greeted with a smell that I haven't smelt since leaving the UK in 2011 - the smell of a chip shop. The frying, the batter, the fish. Mmm. I've missed that smell. It's actually one of those true British smells this BBC Mind The Gap article suggests that you'll come to miss if you ever leave the UK, alongside ya know, rain, cut grass, curry and say petrol. Chip shops in the tradition sense that you see in every British town are rare in America and Scotty's is one of the few places that offers food to go alongside having seating. You can smell the original owners Scottish heritage in the air by the way they fry their house boned and cut cod. The batter itself, well that's a secret recipe just as old as the establishment.   


Scotty's is one of those places that often ends up on, or very close to the top of the best places in Detroit and it's surrounding area for fish n chips and you can see why. And it's very, very popular. With fresh fish, hand cut coleslaw and homemade tartar sauce, they certainly know what they are doing. Sadly the chips were more of the thinner American variety, but they were fried tasty enough that I could see past it. And don't get me started on their homemade pies - their lemon meringue pie, well that just topped everything off perfectly.

Sadly many would overlook eating in Scotty's because of it's location. On the corner of Fenkell and Dolphin, Scotty's is a long standing residence of the Detroit community of Brightmoor, one often referred to as "Blightmoor". Those Detroit horror stories are nearly always given in reference to this area, regardless of whether they are true or not. Still, it's a pretty darn popular place. 


Scotty's fish n chips offers authentic food, one that speaks proper British way of frying and serving them. But also speaks authentic Detroit - from the friendly service, the mom n pop feel, there's nothing fancy. They know what they do and they do it really well. While a lot of the other places in Michigan (and Pittsburgh) offer fish n chips, especially in British, Irish, Scottish themed places, their dishes lack that original taste that I grew up. 

And while it's a bit of a drive for us, I'll certainly be dragged Joe back there when i'm craving proper British style fish, it's worth it for the smell along. 

Fancy some great British style fish n chips in Detroit? 
Scotty Simpson's Fish n Chips;
22200 Fenkell Ave
Detroit, Michigan, 48223

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