IT has been a Glasgow restaurant institution for the past 50 years and has overcome its most tumultuous year in its history.

And like many at that stage in life, the Ubiquitous Chip in the city’s west end, has undergone a little bit of mid-life spruce up ahead of opening its doors this week following the latest in a series of opening and closures to due lockdown restrictions over the past 13 months.

Welcoming loyal and new customers to the restaurant has been a long time coming and the family-run institution is marking its rather important milestone.

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Its 50 years since the late restaurateur Ronnie Clydesdale opened the venue and in many ways was a trailblazer for how venues present themselves and their offerings to this day.

They were first to prominently display the provenance of the Scottish and locally sourced produced, something which became important during lockdown to even home amateur chefs, detailing the likes of Oban landed hake or Ramsay’s of Carluke bacon on the menu.

Carol Wright, co-owner of The Ubiquitous Chip, outside the famous eaterie

Carol Wright, co-owner of The Ubiquitous Chip, outside the famous eaterie

Now in the capable hands of Ronnie’s son and wife Carol Wright, with their son Ruaraidh, 19, also beginning to get a foot on the first rung of the restaurant empire ladder, they are looking forward to a more stable year as they emerge from lockdown and plan for the future.

As with many restaurants they have had to adapt and have tables more socially distanced and they have added a splash of colour as well as new plants to give the restaurant the look and feel which people are familiar with.

“I have been in the restaurant for sometime now after we made some subtle changes but it still feels like the Chip,” said Ms Wright. “It might be a little bit different, but it still has the same integrity. Reaching this point, I think we are just glad to get to this stage of opening but keep an open mind that there might be a need to adapt again. The hospitality industry is very good at adapting and changing quickly as we have shown over the past 12 months.”

As well as the Chip, they also have the Hanoi Bike Shop and Stravaigin in their portfolio and admit last year was stressful opening and closing three restaurants on more than one occasion.

The Ubiquitous Chip marks 50th year with refurbishment for reopening

The Ubiquitous Chip marks 50th year with refurbishment for reopening

Ms Wright added: “One of the hardest things for us was the opening and closing of the restaurant on more than one occasion. You have a lot to prepare, wages to pay, bars to stock for example, in the week before you are due to open and then last Autumn it was just for a couple of weeks. There is the issue of being left with stock and fresh produce to suddenly get through before the sudden closures again. It has been without doubt the most difficult year in the restaurant’s history.”

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Bosses at the Ashton Lane eaterie were forced to furlough staff and sadly there were some redundancies. However, while their revenue streams were cut off, there was still other outlays such as National Insurance and pension contributions for staff to be paid. Last year Mr Clydesdale urged the hospitality to offer a visual indication of the number of jobs that were at risk due to restrictions last October.

He posted a picture on social media with a blackboard which read ‘Nicola there are 75 jobs here’ and urged the hospitality industry to do the same to make the point about the impact on hospitality livelihoods.

The Herald: The scene at The Ubiquitous Chip while work was underwayThe scene at The Ubiquitous Chip while work was underway

Winner of Two AA Rosettes and Good Food Guide, Rating 5 since 1971, has earned its place in the culinary heritage of Glasgow and Scotland, and while it might not have got off the to start it had hoped for to mark the 50th anniversary, they hope to make up for it when there is more stability for the industry.

“We had hoped to mark the start of our 50th year with a Hogmanay event last year, but whether we will be able to do something this year we will just have to wait and see. It is difficult at the moment to look at what could be planned and even with how many people.

From bold orange to new bench seats and a reclaim table from Glasgow School of Art, it is hoped it will all add to the atmosphere as the doors reopen.

From today they will be open to serve drinks outdoors and from Thursday will welcome customers indoors for food, but no alcoholic drinks.

“We have been happy to comply, but opening up and not being able to serve alcohol has major impact. You are still serving the same number of customers and require staff to cover that and they did embrace mocktails and our non-alcoholic fizz, but we just weren’t getting the same revenue through.

“There is no doubt there is something really nice about sitting down with friends in a social environment. Whether it be with non-alcoholic fizz or the real thing we hope to be celebrating our 50th anniversary and many more years to come.”