Some items go together without much thought. Almost as if these things have always existed together in the same space. For me, fish and chips fall easily into this category. Even calling it fish and fries sounds less relatable and appetizing.
But the truth is, that fish and chips haven't always coexisted - they had to come together and come together they did in mid 19th century England. The chips introduced from Belgium or France and the fried fish introduced by Jewish immigrants from Portugal and Spain** often in small, family-run fish and chip shops. It's still a dish that is quintessentially British and a staple on many pub menus. Across the pond, there are around 8500 fish and chip shops across the UK* and it's a dish that was exempt from rationing by Churchill during WWII.
In a lot of ways we aren't that different in Canada, Fish and Chips aren't far down the list of favourites and most family restaurants and pubs consider it a mainstay - Cities like ours, close to the coast, are fortunate to have a few spots that make the combo something extra special.
Your Fish & Chips is one of these spots - they are a traditional fish and chip shop selling only their specialty out of their downtown St. Thomas location that's been part of the family for three generations with the fourth generation working alongside current owners Ryk and Lisa Snetselaar. Ryk came up in the business working after school and on weekends until he joined the operation full time in 1988.
In keeping their menu offering simple, they have perfected their recipes and a consistent product that is deeply satisfying for a fish and chip lover. The chips, made from local potatoes, are some of the best in the city in this writer's opinion. The fish ticks off all the boxes of high standards - it's firm and flaky, tender, not excessively oily, and white in colour. For takeaway, it's presented in a traditional cardboard box with paper and tied with string - feeling like a golden gift from the food gods rather than a simple takeaway. It's also an incredibly reasonable price at only $13.35 for a large (2 piece).
Ryk and Lisa are big on family, just like the generations before them and they hope customers have continued to feel part of the Snetselaar family despite the last year of changing regulations. Ryk is looking forward to properly catching up with the extended Your Fish & Chips family when Ontario returns to indoor dining. But he is incredibly grateful to their customers for their support over the last year, "Our business has been blessed as we were able to continue operating through this pandemic. A big thank-you to everyone as we are appreciative of all the customers for supporting us at this time. "
Currently you can order Your Fish & Chips by calling ahead for pick up. They only accept cash so be sure to check your wallet before heading in. The full menu is available online at yourfishandchips.ca. Your toughest decision will always be lemon or vinegar (or both in my case, lemon for the fish and malt for the chips!) and Ketchup or Tartar Sauce (it's always ketchup on my fish, just like John Lennon).
*Source: The National Federation of Fish Friers
**Source: BBC News Magazine