The fish and chips at Wright’s are unlike any other you’ll find in the metro. The batter that coats the flaky Norwegian cod is light and perfectly crisp. The chips are thick and expertly fried. And the herby homemade tartar sauce is so good that customers have asked for it to be bottled. It tastes exactly like what you’d find across the pond in the United Kingdom, which is exactly what Chantelle Wright and her family set out to do.
In the U.K., fish and chip shops, or chippies, are ubiquitous. But when Wright moved to metro Atlanta six years ago, she was disappointed by the lack of true, British-style fish and chips. Chippies are in her blood—her grandfather operated a chain of them back in the U.K., and her husband’s first job was peeling potatoes at a fish and chip shop. So, she decided to launch her own chippy with her two sons. Wright’s opened in a 900-square-foot space in Cumming in July 2020. Even though it was the middle of the pandemic, and Wright had admittedly done very little advertising for her new business, the demand for British fish and chips was clear. “We had lines out the door, zigzagging in the parking lot or around the building next door,” she says. “People were waiting in line two hours in the beating-down sun just to get their fish and chips.”
Wright began looking for a bigger location and signed a lease at Cumming City Center, the suburb’s brand-new downtown development. After a year and a half of delays, the new chippy finally opened at the end of April. It sold out of food for four days in a row.
Authenticity is key at Wright’s, where diners can also order a variety of meat pies and pick up imported British snacks and pantry staples at the in-store market. The fish batter is imported from the U.K., as are the marrowfat peas used to create the traditional mushy peas. The cod, prepared by hand daily in the shop, comes from the Barents Sea off the coast of Norway, just as it would in the U.K., Wright says, noting that the colder temperatures of the North Atlantic “give you a much fresher and flakier piece of fish.”
The biggest difference, Wright says, between American and British fish and chips is the batter. A typical U.S. pub will serve beer-battered fish, Wright says, “but British batter is so much lighter and crispier. It literally poaches the cod inside of it when you put it into the fryers.” British flour is sweeter than American flour, and she adds that Wright’s doesn’t season the fish at all. “That’s why we’ve got the vinegar and the salt on the tables, for you to season it yourself,” she explains. And as for the thick, ridiculously creamy tartar sauce that comes on the side, that’s a secret family recipe.
This winter, the Wrights will open a British pub, called Wright’s on the Green, just across the street from the chippy, so diners can pair a pint with their proper fish and chips.
This article appears in our November 2023 issue.