In just about every community in Ireland, from neighborhoods in the heart of Dublin to the small villages in the west, you will find someone cooking up fish and chips. One of he best places to enjoy fish and chips in Dublin is Leo Burdock.
The fish will most likely be cod, though there are other kinds of fish to had as well, depending on the day’s catch. Ever since Bella and Patrick Burdock started their shop in 1913, the business has relied on the very freshest catch from Dublin’s fishing fleet, so you might see plaice, haddock, pollack or other fish on the menu.
When the business began — one hundred and four years ago at this writing — Patrick and Bella’s son Leo, namesake of the store, was the one who most often went to the docks early in the morning to source fresh fish. On the way back, he’d also load up his horse driven cart with fresh potatoes for the chips and coal to fire up the pans in which to cook them.
The Leo Burdock business has seen a lot, in its one hundred and four years and counting. They dished up hot fish and chips during the Easter Rising which saw the beginning of Ireland’s independence, lasted through World War I and expanded to several locations across Dublin, then pulled back to just the original location in The Liberties near Christ Church as World War II and post war shortages caused changes. Times picked up, though, and through the ups and downs of economy, tourism, arts, and politics, Leo Burdock shops have kept steadily frying up crispy fish and thick cut chips.
These days, you can find Leo Burdock shops in half a dozen locations across Dublin (including one in Crown Alley in Temple Bar ), some of which offer sit in restaurants with expanded menus running to chicken, burgers, and other sorts of sea food as well as classic cod and chips.
That first, original location in Werburgh Street, just a few steps past Christ Church itself, is the one I visit most often, though. I have been there at varying times of day, when there’s a long queue outside and when things are quiet. The staff members have always been cheerful, upbeat, and fast moving. The fish has always been right on point fresh, the batter in which it is cooked light and crisp, and the chips well cooked and tasty. The portions are generous, and for city centre Dublin, not expensive at a bit over nine euros for a basic one and one, as it’s known, one portion of cod and one of chips.
It’s a small place, this original Leo Burdock, meant for take away only. There is often a queue, it’s true, but in the queue you’ll find workers and residents of the neighborhood, visitors from many parts of the world, and perhaps a national or international celebrity or two, or three. You can see photos of some famous folk who have passed through the doors of this small take away on the walls inside. Well known visitors to date include Gabriel Byrne, Sandra Bullock, Liam Neeson, and Patrick Stewart.
It is true that there are many places to eat fish and chips across Dublin. Sample the ones which appeal to you, sure — and make sure to add a stop at Leo Burdock to your list. If there’s time waiting in line it will go quickly, and you’ll have given yourself a tasty meal and a taste of a Dublin tradition.
Photographs by Kerry Dexter. Thank you for respecting copyright.
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