If I had a pound for every time my hometown of Coventry went viral because of a song about a relatively unremarkable part of the city, I’d have £2… which isn’t a lot, but it’s weird that it happened twice. Following the Coventry Market song featured on Harry Hill’s TV Burp, the most recent buzz is TikTok sensation Binley Mega Chippy - a chip shop formed in 2004 who have enjoyed some baffling attention after becoming Gen Z’s latest obsession.
If you’ve somehow missed the hype, Know Your Meme suggests this trend began with a post from TikTok user @craigs.kebab.house, who included the chippy in a ‘takeaway appreciation post’ round up. Then, an account titled @welovebinleymegachippy shared a jingle in honour of the takeaway, launching the shop into viral territory.
Cue multiple parody accounts, over 4000 videos using the song and even a recreation of the shop on Minecraft, and this random chippy in Coventry is on For You pages everywhere.
But, and here’s the crucial question, does the TikTok fame translate to the quality of its food? I headed down to the famed takeaway to find out.
I headed down at 4:40pm, just 10 minutes after the shop opened for dinner, and was surprised to find I wasn’t the only person waiting. In fact, a queue had already formed. Chatting to Coventry University students Miles, Hamish and Luke, it’s clear that virality is the main attraction, as they shared that “a mate came down all the way from St Albans to try it, and we thought seeing as we’re just 10 minutes away we might as well after seeing it on TikTok.” As we’re talking, someone chants the theme song out of a car driving past and is rewarded with chuckles through the queue.
I managed to pull part-time worker Katki away from the rush of orders to chat about the shop’s sudden fame. Given that Katki isn’t on TikTok, when she came to work to find “a group of lads taking pictures” and singing the Binley Mega Chippy song inside, she was understandably baffled. It was only when her colleague announced they had gone viral that it all became clear - but this initial burst was nothing compared to what the shop had coming. “Honestly, I think we need to hire some new staff now!” Katki jokes, indicating towards the growing queue and cars rallying for a precious space in the lot.
With my cod and chips in hand (recommended by a local ahead of me who was a little annoyed at having to wait so long for his dinner), I headed home. I’ll admit that my expectations were low; I assumed that the meme was partly so amusing because the food was average. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The fish had a crispy batter that wasn’t greasy like others I’ve struggled through and the fish itself was fresh and flaky. Chips varied from thick and soft to thin and crispy and were suitably slathered in salt and vinegar in the only way that British chip shops know how. Despite the opportunity to push prices up with their increased footfall, the portion size was decent for the £7.10 I paid for it, a respectable fee for a tasty dinner.
Their TikTok fame, while inexplicable, is earning the chippy a fresh crowd of eager customers. Katki, however, implies that many are simply looking for the experience of seeing Binley Mega Chippy with their own eyes (and phones): “people have claimed that they’ve come from Newcastle, London, Manchester, Leicester - and then they take photos, buy one cone of chips and leave!”. From my experience, fans with the sole purpose of producing a viral TikTok while ignoring the menu are missing out on a solid chippy dinner, so more fool them.
There may be no logical explanation for the sudden excitement around Binley Mega Chippy, but TikTok’s elusive algorithm has helped this local business boost sales and put Coventry on the map for yet another bizarre 15 minutes of fame. As for the rumoured merchandise, while the staff themselves are sporting some surprisingly chic branded caps and T-shirts, sadly it seems that committed fans won’t be able to publicly display their chip shop alliance with their own merch just yet.