Fish and Chip war sparks in Dublin's Howth
Locals in Howth are calling it the start of a fish 'n' chips war.
A new branch of the famous Leo Burdock's chipper has opened in the seaside village, home of the iconic Beshoff's fish and chip shop, which has ruled the harbour front for years.
Beshoff's is in all the guide books as a must-have experience on a visit to Howth on Dublin's northside, and tourists sit on the old harbour wall opposite the shop, eating their fish'n'chips.
But now Beshoff's has a serious rival. Burdock's, frequently cited as the best chipper in Dublin, has opened a new shop opposite Howth Dart Station.
The original Burdock's, at Werburgh Street near Christchurch in Dublin city centre, is world-famous and Tom Cruise, Sandra Bullock, Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger and Russell Crowe are just a few of the many stars who have gone there for a one-and-one over the years.
But isn't it a bit cheeky- or even fishy - for Burdock's to be invading Beshoff's home patch in Howth?
"Not at all", says Derek Duggan, manager of Burdock's.
"I think Howth is big enough and nice enough to welcome a new arrival. There should be room for everyone.
"And isn't offering more choice to the customer always a good thing? A lot of tourists visit us in the city, so we want to be able to look after them when they're on their day out in Howth as well."
Beshoff's, a famous name in Howth for a century, is being polite about the new arrival.
"We wish them well," says John Beshoff. "We recognise they have a long history like ourselves. But we are confident that we have a premium product that is the healthiest around. Cooking in rapeseed oil means our fish and chips have 45pc less saturated fat and our batter is beautifully light."
There are two other chippers in Howth harbour, the new Crabby Joes on the West Pier, run by fish merchants Wrights, and the old-style Caffe Caira.
But it is the forthcoming battle between Burdock's and Beshoff's, that will be most interesting in the months ahead. Someone could get a battering.