Belfast Telegraph

Simply Crispy - Belfast's first crisp sandwich cafe opens

By Ricky Thompson

The world's first cafe specialising in crisp sandwiches has opened its doors in Belfast.

Simply Crispy was set up by Belfast businessman Andrew McMenamin after he read a spoof article detailing the idea on the satirical website The Ulster Fry. The humorous piece was written in response to two Belfast Brothers opening a cereal cafe in London last month and poked fun at unusual food fads.

Andrew liked the idea so much he decided to transform his already established coffee shop, That Wee Cafe, to accommodate the new venture and what was once a satirical joke quickly became reality.

With the help of social media, Simply Crispy was up and running within four days.

Speaking about the online article, Andrew said: "It struck a chord, it was so funny. The comments and the feedback from that got us thinking 'we could probably do that'."

Andrew contacted The Ulster Fry and was surprised when they agreed to help push it forward.

"Four days later, here we are, selling crisp sandwiches. We needed to be open as soon as possible after the article, to be fresh in people's minds."

Customers can choose from various brands of bread and crisps and add a filling of ham or cheese before deciding whether to have butter or a sauce. There is a range of crisp flavours, mostly sourced from NI company Tayto.

Andrew takes pride in the local aspect of his sandwiches, using Belfast baps and Northern a Irish butter.

"We wanted to stay true to Norther Irish products and so far feedback has been fairly positive. I'm very happy with it so far."

Andrew said the interest in his cafe can solely be put down to social media: "Once we said on Facebook and Twitter that we were going to do it, it just snowballed and everybody wanted to help. Tayto got wind of it. Things moved so quickly."

But the entrepreneur said it's a short term concept and the novelty will wear off: "You can go into any cafe in Belfast and they'll make you a crisp sandwich. It'll probably last four weeks, I'd say. We'll run it for as long as it can run for."

He was critical of the cereal cafe in London, Cereal Killers, saying the controversy surrounding their high prices wasn't unfounded and he wants to keep his sandwiches affordable: "What do you want to pay for two pieces of bread and a packet of crisps?

"I think £2 is a reasonable price. If you go to a cafe in any part of town, you're going to pay £2.30 sometimes just for two slices of toast.

"I think £3 is expensive for a bowl of cereal and some people will say £2 is expensive for a crisp sandwich but we have a meal deal which makes it worthwhile.

"I wouldn't pay £3.74 for a bowl of cereal."

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