The husband and wife team behind a successful local catering business have opened a takeaway for barbecue-style food in Long Sutton.
Tom and Shelley Chapman, who live in Sutton Bridge, needed work to see them over the less-busy winter season - and came up with the idea of Smokey’s Catering and Takeaway.
The shop, in Market Place, opened on November 30, and runs alongside their existing business, which is outside catering.
“Catering work is mainly summer-based,” said Tom (32). “So we were racking our brains to try and think of something to bring in some money over the winter months.
“We saw the shop had become available and went from there. It was in a right state when we took it on and we took two months to get it the way we wanted it.”
The premises was formerly Pizza Perfection, which served kebabs, chicken and burgers.
“We wanted to do something a bit different to that,” said Tom, who previously trained and worked as a butcher in Gosberton and Holbeach.
“I was made redundant from butchery and worked for a window company, but I wasn’t happy.
“About five years ago, we started Smokey’s at Loaded nightclub on Saturday nights and at Stickney car boot sale and it grew from there.”
Tom’s mum and sister - Cheryl Chapman and Kelly Newman - run catering company Country Kitchen in Holbeach and their experience helped considerably as Tom and Shelley set up their new venture.
Having trained as a butcher, Tom’s speciality is pulled meats - including favourite, beef brisket - and ‘salady sides’.
“We were trying to stay away from doing chips,” said Tom. “But people kept asking for them - so if people want them, we have got to do them!”
And Tom and Shelley (31) are already planning their summer fare - with the takeaway’s outside barbecues set to be fired up.
But it’s not just barbecue-style food on offer . . . Tom and his team prepared, cooked and delivered an astonishing 220 turkey Christmas dinners last week, starting work at 3am and finishing at 10pm!
And having four children, Tom and Shelley have barely had time to take breath . . . but after a short festive break at the shop, the doors will be open again on Wednesday (January 3).