A CITY fish and chip shop has scooped a prestigious national award.
Merrills, in Chester Road, is the only Sunderland chippy to hold the National Fish Friers Federation (NFFF) Fish and Chip Quality Award.
“We’re very proud to win it,” said owner David Gill.
“It’s a very precious award. In the country not many shops have this award because it’s very difficult to get.”
The shop, part of the iGills group, has spent more than a quarter-of-a-million pounds on improvements – reopening after a major refurbishment in October 2011.
NFFF quality advisor, Eleanor Nicholls, said: “It’s all about raising standards. We’re looking for people to have met the legal requirements and moved it on to best practice.
“When I first came into the shop three months ago I was certainly impressed with the hygiene, there were areas which needed improving and David has taken that on-board.
“He’s proactive, in that he’s willing to listen to advice and take it to the next level.”
The award recognises high standards in taste, customer service, cleanliness, equipment used and temperature control.
Merrills, which has been trading for 50 years, is one of just seven premises within Tyne and Wear, and County Durham to have the award – with Colemans, South Shields and iFry, Birtley, being the only others south of the Tyne.
“We have an elite team here. There’s no good having a good car and a bad engine,” added Mr Gill.
“This shop sets the standard in the industry, it’s the new way forward for fish and chips.”