Last orders at Balgownie fish and chips shop: photos

Little has changed in 51 years at Anna and Tony Vangelovski’s Balgownie Fish Shop.

Potatoes remain hand-peeled, orders are taken in pencil on notebooks and chips are still served in paper.

There are no service timers, no digital ordering systems and no organic alternatives, just a menu of fried favourites and Anna’s famous refrain of ‘‘next order please, love’’.

The big change will come within three months when the Vangelovskis close the doors on their labour of love for the last time.

The store has operated seven days a week since 1964, winning over  generations of customers and becoming part of the community fabric. 

''When we retire I say we’re going to be dancing, dancing with the stars!’’

By 11am, the shop’s 1950s pastel interior is swamped by tradesmen and retirees, a scene that transforms later into  kids after school asking how many chips they can get for a dollar,  and then families coming in for  a Friday night takeaway.

Of the shop’s famous thick-cut chips, Tony said: ‘‘I peel fresh potatoes every day, I put them through the cutter and we fry them fresh; other places use frozen but it’s no good, it has to be fresh.’’

Like  many other Macedonian immigrants,  Tony’s first job was  at the steelworks.

‘‘I worked there for six maybe seven years but not much money, so I learned the business from my brother’s fish shop and we opened our own,’’ he said.

Anna and Tony have been married since meeting in their village of Capari and spend every day working side by side.

When asked which of them was the boss,  Anna insisted it was Tony... but he only laughed, saying: ‘‘No bosses here. When people ring us and ask if they can speak to the boss, I say, ‘No bosses here, only employees!’’’

Tony and Anna are retiring – what they call ‘‘a big rest’’ – from early morning starts and late finishes.

‘‘We need to rest, we’re getting old and the pains are starting. When we retire I say we’re going to be dancing, dancing with the stars!’’

Their Balgownie Road  business  has been bought by a developer who wants to build  ‘‘ a boutique selection of... apartments offering contemporary living design’’.

Frank Flannagan, an 83-year Balgownie veteran, is already mourning the closure of the  shop. ‘‘What will we do without Tony and Anna?’’ he asked.