End of an era as Ubiquitous Chip sold to pub chain

One of Scotland’s best known restaurants has been sold to one of the UK’s largest pub chains.

The Ubiquitous Chip, the longest established family-run restaurant in Glasgow, and a favourite with generations of diners, is now under the ownership of the Greene King group, which boasts over 2,700 venues across the UK.

The eatery in the city’s west end had been in the ownership of the Clydesdale family for more than five decades, and it has long been a champion of Scottish produce.

When the Ubiquitous Chip was opened in 1971 by Ronnie Clydesdale, its original home was effectively a glorified electrician’s yard in Ruthven Lane. But the tables quickly packed out, and a larger venue in Ashton Lane was soon sought out.

From there, the restaurant cemented its reputation as one of Glasgow’s go-to venues. Its well-known diners over the years have included Sir Billy Connolly, Mick Jagger, and Princess Margaret, but it is best associated with the late writer and artist, Alasdair Gray, who created dazzling venues inside the Chip in exchange for food and drink.

When Ronnie passed away in 2010 at the age of 74, the restaurant - which by then had grown to include a series of bars - was taken over by his son Colin, and his partner Carol.

As recently as March, Colin told The Scotsman of how his father was a self-taught restaurateur.

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50 years of the Ubiquitous Chip - one of Glasgow’s favourite restaurants
The restaurant has been a fixture of Glasgow's Ashton Lane for generations.

“Dad knew nothing of how to run a restaurant and had taught himself how to cook. He started practising when he was in National Service, on sentry duty,” he explained.

"They had no-one to actually sentry against, so he would scuttle off to the canteen and cook, and the rest of the sentries would come and have a slap-up feed at three in the morning.

“He based his restaurant on what he wanted to eat and what he thought the guys who were experienced in eating out wanted to eat. That was the logical bit, then it kind of goes out the window. He broke every rule going.”

The deal with Greene King includes the family's two other restaurants in Glasgow - Stravaigin and Hanoi Bike Shop.

The restaurant's brasserie.

Michael Horan, managing director of Metropolitan Pub Company, part of the Greene King group, said: "We are really excited to welcome these iconic sites to the Metropolitan estate, and continue the legacy that the Clydesdale family has built over the last 50 years.

"We are looking forward to working with the 145 team members to continue providing the world class hospitality to the people of Glasgow."

Mr Clydesdale said he looked forward to returning to the Chip and the other venues, albeit as a customer.

"Metropolitan Pub Company approached Carol and I, as great admirers of The Chip, Stravaigin and Hanoi, with an interest in buying,” he added.

The restaurant first opened in 1971.

"After much consideration, we decided to sell the business that has been in family ownership since 1971.

"I truly believe the business and people will be in safe hands with Michael and the team, who will continue the legacy that we have built. We look forward to visiting as customers for many years to come."

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