The Skyliner: The family run fish & chip shop that Tripadvisor reviewers say is the best in Leeds

To celebrate National Fish & Chips Day 2023, the Yorkshire Evening Post paid a visit to what according to Tripadvisor in the best chippy in Leeds.
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The Skyliner in Whitkirk is by no means a new restaurant, nor is it unknown. The family run restaurant was founded in 1962 and now sits comfortably as the number one fish and chip shop in all of Leeds on user review site Tripadvisor.

Currently run by third generation owners Alvin, also known as Alf, and his wife Sam Meeham, the restaurant has been in the family since it was opened by grandfather Johnny over 60 years ago.

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Alf grew up here. As the grandson of the founder and son of the second generation owners, he’d often spend his childhood at the restaurant while his family was working. 

Alvin and Sam Meehan are the Skyliner's third generation owners.Alvin and Sam Meehan are the Skyliner's third generation owners.
Alvin and Sam Meehan are the Skyliner's third generation owners.

“My granddad was a painter and decorator, and the story goes that he used to like a pint back in the fifties and sixties when he came over from Ireland”, he explains. “And all the chippies used to close before the pub closed, so he opened up his own fish shop to be open so he could get his fish and chips, and it’s just been going ever since.”

So why is the Skyliner held in such high regard? According to Alf it all comes down to staff, products and loyal customers.

“We’ve got a great team”, he said. “We use quality products - the best haddock from Iceland, Lincolnshire potatoes, and just the best that we can get really.”

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“And we’ve got a very loyal customer base, really”, Sam added. “The older generations are people who came back when we first opened.”

The restaurant is packed when we arrive. Alf and Sam had originally reserved a table for the Yorkshire Evening Post visit, but due to the amount of customers they ended up giving it away.

Danny Dudley fries fish for eager customers.Danny Dudley fries fish for eager customers.
Danny Dudley fries fish for eager customers.

Over the one hour we spend at the Skyliner, just as many people buy take away as there are people in the crowded restaurant section. Most customers leave with the iconic paper wrapped meal and a paper bag with the mushy peas.

“I reckon that we sell about 80 percent haddock and chips. I like to think that is what we do really well”, Alf said.

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A quick chat with some of the guests seems to prove both Alf and Tripadvisor reviewers right. Enjoying a cup of tea after their meal are friends Cathy, Sheila and Katherine, who are regulars at the restaurant.

Getting a table at the restaurant might prove a challenge.Getting a table at the restaurant might prove a challenge.
Getting a table at the restaurant might prove a challenge.

“We started coming here once a month since the pandemic”, they said. “It’s the best fish and chips in Leeds because of the quality of the food.”

While a lot of places like to claim they are the best chippy, there is definitely a reason why the Skyliner has made it to the top. Owners Alvin and Sam constantly go out of their way to make every customer feel special, and that might very well contribute to this chippy’s long and loyal customer base.

Alf continued: “We have customers that come in once, twice, sometimes even three times a week. They’re more like friends than customers, we go back years and years with them.”