Holloway Road chicken shop hopes ‘avocado fries’ will discourage crime when it reopens

A stock image of avocado fries. Picture: (flickr.com/photos/tavallai CC BY-ND 2.0)

A stock image of avocado fries. Picture: (flickr.com/photos/tavallai CC BY-ND 2.0) - Credit: Archant

Neighbours have been told not to flap over a Holloway Road chicken shop’s plans to sell booze – because it will be serving avocado fries, not greasy thighs.

Bosses at the Sam’s Chicken chain have angered some people by applying for a late-night alcohol licence in the fast food joint, which is set to reopen after being closed for almost two years.

One neighbour complained the takeaway’s cheap chicken had regularly attracted troublemaking youngsters and said it only shut because staff kept getting attacked and “nobody would work in it”.

They said they once had to take a worker to hospital after a drunk man threw a brick at his head and alcohol would only make matters worse.

But Nirosh Fernando of parent company A&S Fast Foods said the takeaway closed because it wasn’t making any money – and all the staff working the night the brick was thrown were sacked for “reacting”.

He said the company, which has 40 branches across London, had hatched a plan for a new upmarket establishment with a different name and the Islington branch would be the first.

“This will be an entirely different project,” he said. “We’re deciding between two names at the moment; ‘Samuel’s’ and ‘Ministry of Chicken’.

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“The concept is similar to what Bird and Mother Clucker are doing, offering a high-end product to attract a different kind of clientele.

“It will be British sourced and everything we do will be true to the heart of the area. We’ve redesigned the menu. It’s not halal, it’s wings and strips, avocado and sweet potato fries.

“I’m an Arsenal fan so I’m there every other week, I know the guys at Piebury Corner and we want to be something like that. It will be much more expensive.”

Nirosh added his solicitors were reaching out to the worried neighbours to reassure them.

“We know it didn’t work last time,” he said. “The reason we want an alcohol licence is because people like to know they can have a drink with their meal if they want to.

“We don’t want to be doing badly and have to start lowering prices.”