Piccadilly: You can’t go home again

Back when I was working at Dër Ratskeller Pizza in Sugarhouse (a southern suburb of Salt Lake) in 1974 – more about this enterprise later –  just down the street from us at 780 East 2100 South was a little brown shack called Piccadilly Fish and Chips. Periodically we’d call them up and swap food – their employees invariably got tired of fish, and ours (rarely) were in the mood for something other than pizza.

Piccadilly Fish and Chips Logo

This little restaurant, one of several in Utah at the time, had the best fish and chips I have ever found in America, hands down.  I remember that when they were open, there was a neon sign that said ‘Now Frying.” In the 60’s, there were 10 locations; as of 2008, they were all gone.  An article in the Salt Lake Tribune, dated March 19, 2008, had this to say:

Salt Lake City’s Piccadilly Fish and Chips, the last surviving restaurant of the 39-year-old chain, will close in April, owner Allan Jones said Tuesday. “The food cost has gone up, and so have taxes and wages,” said Jones. Jones purchased the restaurant at 1446 S. State St. about 19 years ago when most of the other Piccadilly locations were closing.

Piccadilly, a Utah chain, had 10 locations in the 1960s, but they started closing in the 1980s, said Jones. The most recent Piccadilly closure was the Ogden restaurant, which closed in 1991, leaving Jones with the sole Piccadilly restaurant. The restaurant closed in May 2004 after the landlords at the former location at 780 E. 2100 South planned a renovation of the property that didn’t include Piccadilly. But, Jones reopened the restaurant at its current location in December 2004.

Jones said he has had a lot of feedback from longtime customers, who say they will miss the restaurant’s homemade clam chowder, jumbo shrimp and halibut. “Every week we have people come in who say they used to go to the other locations,” said Jones.

Jones has sold the building, but did not disclose the details of the transaction.

– Brianna Lange

I was heartbroken to find out that the restaurant was gone for good; very shortly after the restaurant had closed, I got to thinking about it and wondered if it still existed anywhere. I did a search, and Street View actually showed the restaurant on State Street.

New Piccadilly

I hastened down to the address, but sadly found only this:

Former Piccadilly's Restaurant

It was the end of an era, and I had missed it by only a few short months.

One review by “spumoni” at CitySearch read like this:

What a cozy shack. Staring at the counties of England on your way in is always fun. The fish is a little soft for my taste but the batter is good and stiff. Great chips and chowder and iced tea, and always a great deal. A little heavy, but every now and then who doesn’t want their entire lunch deep-fried? … They also have halibut and shrimp if you’re not into cod; chicken and egg rolls and stuff for people not into seafood at all. Equipped with Malt Vinegar and Lemon Juice at every table, you can almost feel the sea-wind hit the dark wooden walls outside.

Seriously, their fish and chips were divine, and their clam chowder was hard to equal. Sigh… I guess if I want good fish and chips I’ll have to spring for a ticket to London.

If anyone reading this has a picture of the old shack on 2100 South or an image of their menu, please let me know – I’d love to add them here.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

[Edit: it’s really a tragedy when stores like this close down forever and their recipes are lost. People ought to post their secret formulas online, especially if they know they won’t ever be getting back into business. Just sayin’.]

6 responses to “Piccadilly: You can’t go home again

  1. the fish and chips I had in London were really delicious. I’ve been to 2 fish and chips restaurants here in the US, but they taste and look like a regular chicken nugget.

  2. Pingback: Because Pizza – the Ratskeller | Playing in the World Game

  3. I remember the jingle that came on the radio in the 70’s – “We took a bit of merry old England, combined it with American knowhow and we came up with the tastiest meal in town, it’s a Piccadilly day!”

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