Spud-U-Like feels like it’s part of the fixtures and fittings of Chester city centre – but no longer after staff confirmed rumours it will close at the end of May.
The Bridge Street shop, run under a franchise owned by David Thornhill, is believed to have been going more than 30 years.
The Chronicle was told to contact head office for official confirmation and is awaiting a response.
Spud-U-Like at Cheshire Oaks is continuing to trade and says business is ‘booming’.
News of the Chester closure is not good for staff or customers whose regulars include former Liverpool, Newcastle and Real Madrid striker Michael Owen from Northop, North Wales. Former Coronation Street actor Ian Puleston-Davies and even TV chef Ainsley Harriott are rumoured to have popped in for the odd jacket spud.
The Spud-U-Like building is interesting because in the basement is an in situ 1,800-year-old Roman hypocaust – from the Greek word meaning ‘fire beneath’ – which was a common form of central heating used by Romans. A cartoon-like Roman centurion model often stands outside Spud-U-Like beckoning tourists to go inside and take a look.
Similar hypocausts can be seen in a rear stockroom of the former Miss Selfridge store at 12 Northgate Street – which may have been the heating system for the Legionary Commander’s quarters – and in a display at the Roman Gardens.