Author: Hannah Gordon
There’s a hidden gem on South Park Ave. in Buffalo, and it smells like fish and chips.
The English Pork Pie Company (EPPC) boasts authentic English cuisine, with an online shop and a restaurant properly named British Chippy at 1216 South Park Ave. EPPC was named “Best British Shop in the World” in 2010 and 2012 and “Best British Shop in America” in 2010, 2011 and 2012, according to their website englishporkpiecompany.com.
Damian and Vicky Parker own EPPC and have imported everything from fryers to the newspaper the fish is served on from their homeland.
“Everything is brought over from the U.K.,” Damian said. “ If you go to Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, it’s not different at all.”
Serving up meat pies and fish and chips to locals and expatriates alike, EPPC’s business is booming, but the couple is modest.
“We’ve gotten these awards for the last few years, but we don’t really shout it at people,” Damian said. “We’re rather quiet about it.”
Their manufacturing center is home to a 120-foot-long machine that is capable of producing 3,000 pies in an hour, which equates to about two pies per second, according to Damian.
The couple wanted to add another British touch to Buffalo while making use of the spare land they had on-site, so they built a regulation soccer and rugby field. Damian said many local schools have already contacted them about using the field, along with Buffalo Rugby Club and Western New York Flash, the professional women’s soccer league in the region.
“We’re not charging anyone to use it,” Damian said. “If it can be played on, we want them to come and use it. It’s our contribution to the community.”
Although EPPC doesn’t currently have a beer and wine license, Damian said it is definitely in the works. A future goal is to add a pub to their complex and serve meat pies and pints during soccer games.
“We’re looking to get a stadium license for serving,” Damian said. “In the U.K., South Africa, and New Zealand it’s what you do at a football (soccer) game. Baseball has hot dogs. Football has meat pies and pints.”
The pub is a distant plan, but the couple is working with a local architect and developers to bring their 2015 goals to life.
In the meantime, they plan to open British Chippy restaurants in North Tonawanda, Amherst and Niagara Falls. Each would be owned solely by Damian and Vicky and all employee training would happen at the complex so the couple can oversee everything and ensure it is done in the authentic British fashion.
Damian said other plans for EPPC include adopting an American concept—the food truck.
“We’d do it a bit differently,” Damian said.
“A bit differently” entails a double-decker English bus.
“When it’s cold out, people can just order their food and go upstairs to eat and keep warm,” Damian said.
The mobile restaurant could potentially hold 50-60 customers. Originally, they thought it would be done as early as this Spring, but other projects with EPPC—like the three planned restaurants—have consumed more time, so it will likely be done later in the year. The bus will be completely constructed in the U.K. for authenticity and shipped to America.
Damian said he’d also like to reverse the trend of people going to Canada for English food and instead have Canadians come here.
“There are 2 million British expats in Canada—1.2 million of which live in Ontario,” Damian said. “We’d like to see them coming here.“
While EPPC is focused on authenticity to give their British customers a taste of home, Damian said the company is also focused on the community they belong to.
“We’re trying to create a little campus here that’s open to the community,” Damian said. “We’re a British company, but we want Buffalo to be our home.”
Visit the English Pork Pie Company on Facebook, or visit them in person at 1176 South Park Avenue
in Buffalo. (716) 823-3772