Founder of fish 'n' chips in Steveston passes away

One of Steveston’s longest-serving businessmen has sadly passed away.

Dave Scott, founder of the famous Dave’s Fish Chips on Moncton Street, died Nov. 20 of pancreatic cancer.

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Scott, 71, opened Dave’s on Canada Day in 1978 on a wing and a prayer – something you don’t see much of from modern-day merchants, he told the Richmond News in August, while celebrating 40 years of frying up for the village.

“There’s a different kind of merchant now. They’re more professional, I think, than we were. A lot of us were doing things as we did it, you know, learning as we went,” said Scott at the time.

As well as last summer marking his 40th anniversary, it was also a time to pass the fryer onto his son, who took over the day-to-day operations.

Scott grew up in Victoria and came to Richmond around 1970. He married his wife soon thereafter.

But when the battery company he was working for closed, the hunt for new employment began. The hunt ended quickly when his mother-in-law brought up in conversation that Steveston, remarkably, didn’t have a fish and chips shop.

“The next day, instead of putting out resumes, I came down to Steveston, walked around and found this shop, or building, over on Chatham. And I went home with a lease,” said Scott in August.

Then 31, Scott had never cooked fish and chips before.

Neither had he run a business. So he got help from his neighbour who was an accountant, and they crafted a business plan and took it to the bank.

Scott planned to open during the Steveston Salmon Festival.

“We opened around 11 (a.m.) and by that time we had a lineup down the street,” he recalled.

“That was it; we kept going,” he said.

The joint moved from Chatham to its present-day location on Moncton in 1984. In 1990, Scott expanded to a second location on Bayview Street, where Sockeye City restaurant now operates.

“I was afraid of competition,” he explained.

But in 2002 his rent was doubled and he sold the restaurant. This allowed him to abate back into his homely restaurant, which still keeps an old-timer’s charm, with porthole window doors and a novelty ship wheel at the host station near the front entrance.

The key to a good fried fish and chips, said Scott, was consistency. He maintained a simple menu with mushy peas and abundant tartar sauce upon request were a staple.

In the 1980s Scott was part of a revitalization plan that aimed to keep Steveston’s ostensible charm.

With files from Graeme Wood

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