The owner of a popular fish and chip shop in Colchester says he feels “privileged” after being named a finalist in a nationwide competition.

Three restaurants in Colchester and Clacton are representing Essex for the 2024 National Fish & Chips Awards, and one of them is Johnny Mac's. 

Over the last 36 years the annual ceremony has acknowledged and championed eateries and individuals across the UK who deliver outstanding fish and chips. 

John McNeill, owner of Johnny Mac's said the nomination was “phenomenal”. 

He said: “I have a great team who are not only hard-working, but they also care about the way we look after and serve our customers. 

“It makes us all feel valued, and I do believe when you feel valued, we all perform better. To progress in the competition would be nothing short of fantastic.


“Sometimes Greenstead does get a bit of bad press but to be totally honest it’s a great estate with a loyal following, and it would be a pleasure to go further in the competition to help us sustain our success and play a major part in our community."

Mr McNeill added: “It’s a very rewarding job and is one of the few trades where you get a lot of local and national recognition if you get it right.  

“Our most successful chippy before this was Scooby Snax in Brightlingsea, we got to the national finals in 2008/9/10 and trade went nuts overnight.” 


Covid, the war in Ukraine and inflation have had a great impact on the business, but the customer was always at the heart of the decision. 

“We have had a fantastic year this year because we have kept our prices sensible. One thing constantly in the back of my mind is to keep our standard fish and chip under £10, be consistent and offer great customer service with a genuine smile," said Mr McNeill. 


Two of the ingredients to the shop’s success are local engagement and quality products, according to Jonny Mac's. 

With an extensive menu including a range of healthy options, as well as gluten-free and halal dishes, the shop recognises the demand and only includes sustainable products. 


Mr McNeill added: “Supporting local groups, schools, the elderly, and local bowling clubs is also important to us, we offer discounted rates for party bookings such as old people’s homes, and vouchers for charity fundraisers, basically we are totally involved with our locals.” 

Johhny Mac's Fish & Chip shop is located at the Hunwick Shopping Centre in Greenstead and also takes orders online or via phone on 01206 867773. 

The Fish Inn, in Clacton and Henley's of Wivenhoe have also been nominated for the award.