Trust In Cod
Danny Sutton, aka Danny the Fish, is owner of fish-battering Mecca, Sutton & Sons (their cod is to die for). Here, he reveals what took him from a Ridley Road Market stall to a fishmongers in Stokey before launching a chippie opposite that quickly grew into a mini East London empire
“I didn’t get on well with education, so I ended up helping my dad on Ridley Road, where he had a stall on Fridays and Saturdays, and the rest of the week I worked at the fishmongers there. I started to learn about the fish and got more and more interested. At the same time, I supplied turkeys from a farm in Hertfordshire, and one of my customers was the butcher on Stoke Newington High Street. I noticed it was very busy, and also that there wasn’t a fishmongers on the street. The unit next door was empty, so it made sense to take a lease and open a fishmongers.
“This was back in 1997, when there were plenty of boarded-up shops about, so I had a choice – it’s a different story now – I even managed to blag three months rent free, which was enough for me to get it up and running. I was living in Stokey at the time, so I put a lot of effort in – this was my little village, and what I put in, I got out. In fact it got so busy, dad ended up coming and working for me.
“I’ve always supplied restaurants and been in and around catering, and my dream was to have my own restaurant, although I never thought it would be fish and chips. But one day, back in 2007, I went for fish and chips at a local place and it wasn’t very good. As I was leaving I asked the owner ‘are you happy here?’ and he said ‘no’, so I said ‘well, I’ll buy it off you then.’ And that was it. It was quite simple, I brought in good produce, put the price up and off we went. We’ve now got three branches.
“I’m a bit more hands off now, but I love receiving the trading figures daily on my phone, and I like to make sure we’re still flavour of the month. I’m also very involved in ensuring the quality is still up there – the fish is everything in this business.
“As for my dad, he’s still working for me, although sometimes I don’t know about working… I think he works in Ladbrokes. Who knows whether my boys (he has two school-aged sons) will follow me in to the business. I’d like them to. It’s not a bad life.”
Hackney Central branch
- Phone: 020 3643 2017
- Monday-Thursday: 12 to 10pm
- Friday – Saturday: 12 to 10:30pm
- Sunday 12:30 to 10pm