Sharples’ Pattaya fish and chips plans giant expansion

Shaun Sharples stands outside his newly opened restaurant in Soi New Plaza, Pattaya.

Shaun Sharples, the Bolton-born Brit who has already made his mark in the highly-competitive Pattaya fish and chips world, has now teamed up with investors to go nationwide. “We are already renovating new premises in Jomtien which should be ready in time for the next high season,” Shaun says, adding that Justin Neville, Chris Rothwell and High Rollers Gentleman’s Club are the confident backers. Later stages, still in the pipeline, would be expansion into other Thai cities – including Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai – and the offering of franchises nationwide.

Initially established in Pattaya’s convivial Tree Town in early 2022, Sharples traditional UK chip shop was an instant success with mainly-British tourists and expats. “But the location was noisy and lacked aircon seating, so we are now in Soi New Plaza, off Second Road, in much plusher surroundings.” Shaun says that his reasons for teaming up with investors are non-financial and have more to do with the fact that “the whole business is getting too big for one guy who hopes to be able to retire in five years.” He adds the new Jomtien branch, when open, will be a much larger unit.

Staff members from the left: Nabee, An, On and Nin, key reasons for the success of the enterprise.

Pattaya has long had a love affair with fish and chip shops, although most have fallen by the wayside. “Just think of Frydays, the Jolly Friar or Simons”, says Shaun, “and today fish and chips are offered in hundreds of Pattaya cafes and restaurants. “But they are not specialty fish and chip shops concentrating on a smallish menu. Sharples is dedicated to hand-cut chips with the best potatoes and staff know the exact temperatures of the oil for cooking fish at various stages. Not to mention our secret batter recipe which retains that all-important crispiness for a longer time.” Cooking the best fish and chips is an art form.

The market for fish and chips in Pattaya is surprisingly diverse. Australians and Russians are amongst recent devotees, not to mention the Thais who accompany their farang partners. However, there is a limited Thai menu for those who prefer the Asian style. The portions are large, even over-powering to some British pensioners, who can choose options from the kids’ section where helpings are smaller. Optional extras include the jumbo sausage, battered or not, which is found in all the authentic UK “chippys” dating back to world war two.

Shaun (center) indulges his passion for fishing and catches a 238 pound monster.

In his spare time – surprisingly he does get some – Shaun is a lifetime devotee of fishing. “It’s a relaxing hobby in Thailand’s excellent rivers and lakes which are without equal worldwide.” On a recent weekend, he and his friends caught a record 238 pound beauty at McQuillans Homestay and Fishing Resort in Ratchaburi. And no, it can’t be served up in Sharples where only imported cod and haddock are on the menu. In little more than a year, Shaun has had a significant impact on the food market in Pattaya. That’s just the start.