Conquest of Seattle by Fish & Chips

For centuries past, fish and chips has been the popular stand-up-and-eat snack in England, similar to our hot dog or bag of popcorn. Street vendors and fish-and-chips shops, some of them doing business at the same old stand for a 100 years or more, have sold the delicacy to passers-by and after-theater crowds in Drury Lane and other colorful streets and towns of England.

Two brothers, Jack and Frank Alger, are credited with giving fish and chips its biggest boost in Seattle, however. The Algers formerly lived in Vancouver, B.C., and were familiar with the fish-and-chips stands at English Ban and Kitsilano Beach.

England-born Jack Alger wondered why similar stands wouldn’t go big in Seattle, especially along its beach drives. So, in 1935, he opened the first Spud Fish & Chips in a small, garage-type building on Alki Avenue.

by John J. Reddin 
Excerpt from The Seattle Times, February 16, 1962.

 

SPUD on Alki Beach, circa 1945. Photo credit Annie Arnold.

SPUD on Alki Beach, circa 1945. Photo credit Annie Arnold.

THE SEATTLE ORIGINAL

Roy Buckley in 1938.

Roy Buckley in 1938.

English-born brothers Jack and Frank Alger opened SPUD FISH & CHIPS on Alki Beach in June of 1935—right in the midst of the depression—when 10 cents could buy a paper 'boat' stuffed with fries and two big pieces of breaded cod reminiscent of a happier time, on a coast far, far away. In late fall the stand was closed and looked as it does at top (in this Works Progress Administration tax inventory photo recorded on Oct. 14, 1938).

It's not commonly known that in 1938 when Ivar Haglund opened his first café—a fish and chips stand at the entrance to his aquarium on Pier 54—that the Alger brothers inadvertently helped him: Roy Buckley, Ivar’s first employee, learned about his fish and chips while working at SPUD. And all of them, Frank, Jack, Ivar and Roy were from West Seattle, not far from the original SPUD.

Following the war, the original building was replaced with a nifty modern building featuring portholes, and has since grown to a two-storied anchor for visitors to Alki beach. Shortly after there were SPUDs at Green Lake and Juanita too.

SPUD Greenlake, circa 1961.

SPUD Greenlake, circa 1961.

Now with our newest location at Edmonds Ferry, SPUD carries on its long tradition of quality food, hand-made within sight of the sea.