Double delight for Lesmahagow fish and chip shops

Two fish and chip shops in the same Lesmahagow street will be battling it out this year for the Best Takeaway in Scotland title.

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 7:45 am
Mark Rollo and the Rollo's team raise funds every Christmas for Cash for Kids. Last year, thanks to generous customers, they raised £7100.

Rollo’s and Pepe’s are just yards from each other in Abbeygreen.

Both are family businesses with strong community links; indeed the owners of both shops did their bit to help the NHS, carers and care homes at the start of the pandemic by offering free suppers.

It seems only fitting that the two teams who care so much about their local community have been repaid in kind – with countless votes from their customers to make it onto the shortlist.

The Pepe's team are no strangers to award ceremonies; Enrico and his team are pictured here at the 2019 Italian Awards.

Rollo’s and Pepe’s will both be up against Burger Island in Burntisland, Mr Chef Uddingston and What the Scoop in Ayr for the title in the annual British Takeaway Awards.

Thanks to votes from customers, each of the businesses will not only be in with a chance of winning £1000 and the Best Takeaway in Scotland title, but also the Best Takeaway in Britain award and a £5000 prize.

The BTAs, as they are also known, run in partnership with Just Eat, champion independent takeaways who, throughout the past 18 months, have played a particularly important role in the communities in which they serve.

An award ceremony will be held in London in September, when the winners will be revealed.

It will pay tribute to the hardworking restaurants that have adapted during the pandemic to deliver a taste of normality to those working from home or self isolating as lockdown forced restaurants to close to diners.

Mark Rollo and Enrico Franceschi are equally delighted to have made the shortlist for Scotland’s best takeaway.

Despite being just yards from each other on the same street in Lesmahagow, Rollo’s and Pepe’s – the fish and chip shops they respectively run – are not bitter rivals.

Indeed, they are delighted that they both made the shortlist for the award and hope it helps to put Lesmahagow on the map.

We spoke to them both this week when it was announced that they’d incredibly both made it to the shortlist – after customers went out of their way to make sure they did!

A mix-up meant Mark, whose family firm made the final three years ago, had already posted on Facebook that Rollo’s hadn’t reached the final.

So he, wife Carol and son Jack (23) were all shocked when the BTA team contacted them to say they had, in fact, become finalists!

Mark said: "It’s so nice to be shortlisted when it’s the customers that are voting and for two shops in the same street, 100 yards apart, to make it to the final is incredible.

"We can’t thank everyone enough for voting. Jack’s input in the last couple of years has been incredible and we’ve got a great team.

"During the first lockdown, we gave away a lot of free suppers to carers, nurses and care homes – as did Pepe’s. It’s as if the community is saying thanks now.”

Rollo’s was founded 35 years ago by Mark’s mum and dad Alice and Davie, who were also delighted by the news.

Enrico and the team at Pepe’s are over the moon and are looking forward to the awards ceremony – regardless of who wins!

The 37-year-old is also looking forward to the shop’s 10th birthday in July; details of the party are yet to be revealed though!

Enrico’s wife Christine is a pastoral care teacher but also helps out with social media campaigns, as well as looking after their three children Carlo (10), Emilio (5) and Mila (2).

As well as thanking all the customers who voted for Pepe’s, Enrico praised his hard-working team.

He said: “We’ve got about 30 on the team – from managers to delivery drivers. We couldn’t do it without them.

"We’ll be shutting the shop to go to the awards; a wee trip down to London for the over 18s is the least they deserve for all their hard work.”