A CHIP shop complete with van that tours the local area has been crowned the best in Oxfordshire.

In May, the Oxford Mail launched a competition to find the county’s favourite chippy, with The Codfather in Witney taking the crown.

With 403 votes, The Codfather pipped Albert’s Fish Bar in Kidlington and Mediterranean Fish Bar in New Marston (314 and 148 votes respectively).

Sara Braiotta, from The Codfather, said the award was recognition of her parents’ hard work.

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“We’re incredibly proud, my parents have been in the chip shop business since 1984 so to win this award is very important,” she said.

“We’re a family business and my parents work so many hours a day, so to feel the support from the local community is great.

“It’s a lot of hard work every day so to be voted for this is amazing – it’s worth all the work.”

The store is managed by Sara’s mother Anna, while her father Mauro takes the van around local villages, including Bampton and Middle Barton.

Oxford Mail: The van outside Charlbury Community Centre. Picture: The CodfatherThe van outside Charlbury Community Centre. Picture: The Codfather

Daughter Sara continued: “Being supported and voted for by people around Witney is extra special – and then from people from areas outside Witney too.

“My parents aren’t from the UK, but we’ve had such a warm welcome from everyone.

“It makes the award extra special as we’re here cooking something that’s traditionally British.

Oxford Mail: Fish from The CodfatherFish from The Codfather

“We cook from fresh, and while people might have to wait a bit longer, they appreciate and respect what we’re giving them.

“The quality of the food and our very generous portions have helped us win this award.

“We give great service and my parents are always chatting and helpful.”

Oxford Mail: The Codfather van visits towns and villages in West OxfordshireThe Codfather van visits towns and villages in West Oxfordshire

Initially, online nominations opened with more than 200 received.

Results of that nominations process saw a shortlist of the top 10 chip shops created.

Those chippies were revealed in the paper at the beginning of June, with readers able to use voting tokens to choose their favourite.

Oxford Mail editor Pete Gavan said: “Many congratulations to The Codfather for walking away with the top prize – it’s a real honour.

“And congratulations to all the chippies entered and finalists.

“It’s great for us to shine a light on businesses around Oxford and get our readers involved in praising them.”

Like the wider catering industry, fish and chip shops have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

By the time the first lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on March 23 last year, restaurants, cafes and pubs had already been closed three days prior on March 20.

Restaurants and pubs that did not operate takeaway facilities quickly adapted their service to do so, while many takeaways themselves did outstanding work for the community.

Whether that was making meals for workers on the frontline of the pandemic, or delivering meals to the vulnerable, takeaways stood up and served their communities in an altogether different way.