Sunderland's only dedicated jacket potato deli The Jacket Inn helps keep hospital staff well fed in pandemic
It’s been a tough first year of business for The Jacket Inn, but the owner of Sunderland’s only dedicated jacket potato deli is determined to keep the ovens burning.
Businessman Glen Conley got off to a flying start when he opened his business in Kayll Road, Pallion, in February 2020.
He invested around £11,000 in totally renovating part of the neighbouring flower shop into a separate unit specialising in jacket potatoes, with a range of hot and cold toppings, as well as sandwiches.
It proved a popular addition to the busy junction and Glen was selling around 100 baked potatoes a day.
The first lockdown hit a month later, however, seriously impacting daily footfall, but Glen has remained open for takeouts and delivery and his healthy options have proved particularly popular with hungry hospital staff.
Now he’s hoping people will remember small, local businesses when looking for takeout food in a bid to help them survive.
He said: “I’ve always wanted the shop to mirror the hospital, so it offers healthier options. We have lots of pizza shops, and I’m not knocking those, but we offer something a bit different. There isn’t another independent jacket potato shop around here.
"I already have a great relationship with the nurses who come in for their lunches. I always have a laugh and a bit of craic with them, which is the difference you get between an independent shop and a national chain. Local shops help to bring the community together.”
Speaking about the name of the business, Glen said: “When I was younger I had various jobs and then left them and my mates would say ‘have you jacked it in’, it’s a very Mackem phrase, so I thought Jacket Inn was a great name for the shop.”
Glen has invested in a specialist baked potato oven in which the potatoes are cooked for an hour and a half before being topped with people’s choice of filling.
He says being at the traffic lights has helped business because people look in while waiting for the lights to change. There is also free parking in the alley next to the shop from 11am to 2pm.
The Jacket Inn is open 9am to 2.30pm Monday to Friday. You can order for delivery on 07444 496 408.