A historic 'Pie and Mash' shop is closing after 128 years because of 'fad diets', its fuming manager claims.
AJ Goddard's Pie and Mash is one of London's oldest traditional builders' cafes, and has been serving up traditional pie, mash and liquor since Queen Victoria sat on the throne.
But now manager Simon Clarke says he's going to have to close the shop, in Deptford, south east London, after years of dwindling revenues - and it appears that the gentrification of the area and the rise in the number of 'fad diets' may have contributed.
Simon said loyal regulars - who apparently include rapper Professor Green - have been coming for more than 50 years and travel from as far as Wales for his shop's £3.50 ($4.50) pie and mash deal.
But his once booming trade has dwindled as the area became gentrified since the turn of the millennium.
Simon said: "I don't know if it's the oldest but it's definitely one of the oldest. People that have moved in around here over the last few years are definitely into fad diets. I've had a few people come in off the streets asking if I do vegan pies.
"It's like some kind of bad joke - we're a traditional pie and mash shop, of course we don't sell vegan pies. Some people just come in just to be nosy because these old places like this you don't get anymore.
"Someone asked for breakfast but I can't, as you can't call it a pie and mash shop then."
Simon said celebs such as Idris Elba, Robson Green, Larry Lamb and Mel and Sue from the Great British Bake Off have used his traditional shop for filming.
Its rich local history is shown on its walls with old photographs of dockyard and train workers who used to queue up for pies. Simon explained: "The only thing that's missing is the sawdust on the floor. Everyone's moved away and my clientele is not here no more.
"The queue was hanging out the door but now it's dribs and drabs. Now half the people who walk past the shop don't know what pie and mash is."
He said just 20 years ago locals would still queue up outside, but now they can't sell enough pies to keep the shop open.
He plans to put down some sawdust and hold a party for his regulars when he serves up his last serving of mince pie, mash and parsley and eel liquor on 7 October. Prof Green, Idris, your invites are in the post.
Simon, who has been getting up at 5am, six days a week to catch a train from Bromley to prepare the food, then plans to follow his customers and open a new shop in Kent.
He said: "I must admit there are mornings I wish I didn't get out of bed because my clientele has disappeared. It is not what it used to be. We still have a good laugh with customers. Most of the regulars I class as family and friends.
"They have got to know me and I have got to know them. It is wicked."
The history of Goddard's goes back to 1890 when it began trading in Evelyn Street before relocating to the high street in 1964.
Simon added: "It's going to be a sad day when we close. I will have a tear in my eye, there's nothing I can do. I think I might throw a party and go out with a bang."
Well, what's the saying? If in doubt, have a blow out.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS